Football: Ex-Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida takes reins of Japanese club Ventforet Kofu

Former Singapore head coach Tatsuma Yoshida said his desire to return to Ventforet Kofu was rekindled after remembering the spirit of the club's fans and supporters. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Former Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida has been officially unveiled as the new head coach for J2 League side Ventforet Kofu, less than a week after quitting his post in Singapore citing the need to be closer to his family.

The announcement was made on the club's website on Monday (Jan 3).

In the club statement, Yoshida said the call from Ventforet, where he coached in 2017 and 2018 and oversaw the team's demotion from the top tier, was "sudden" and he did not "answer immediately".

The 47-year-old coach said his desire to return was rekindled after remembering the sight of the club's fans and supporters applauding him as he bade farewell to the team after being dismissed in May 2018.

"I am very happy to be able to meet many people I met in Yamanashi again and to meet new people," said Yoshida.

"The team will do their best. I will try to be stronger every day. We will create a team that deepens ties and grows throughout the season."

Finally, he called on the Ventforet supporters to encourage the players to overcome challenges in a long season. He added: "Let's enjoy this challenge together and win."

Yoshida quit as Singapore national team coach last Tuesday (Dec 28) just three days after the Republic were knocked out of the AFF Suzuki Cup after a controversial semi-final second leg defeat by Indonesia on Christmas Day. The home side lost the two legged tie 5-3.

On Dec 26, a day after the team's exit, he revealed in an interview with The Straits Times that he was considering offers from clubs in Japan and one elsewhere in Asia.

Yoshida also said he was not able to commit to whether he would see out his contract with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), which was to end in Dec 2022.

Two days later on Dec 28, in a media conference, the FAS announced it would mutually terminate his contract on Dec 31, accepting his request to return to Japan to be closer to his family. He is a father to two daughters, aged 11 and 14.

The FAS has begun its search for Yoshida's replacement and said that the priority is for the next coach to share the same playing philosophies as the Japanese, who they appointed in May 2019.

Yoshida oversaw the Lions for 20 games, winning six games, drawing four and losing 10.

Singapore's next competition is June's third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification, with the draw in February. The Lions could also play games during the Fifa international break in March, which is when the FAS hopes to have a new man in charge.

The governing body is also on the hunt for a technical director to replace Joseph Palatsides, who resigned in November to return to his native Australia citing family and health reasons. He is now the head of youth for Australian club Melbourne Victory.

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