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Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003

Oki to step down as S-Pulse coach

Shimizu S-Pulse coach Takeshi Oki will step down from the helm after the second stage and be temporarily succeeded by assistant coach Koji Gyotoku for the Emperor's Cup, officials of the J. League first division side said Wednesday.

The 42-year-old Oki took over as Shimizu manager in February after pulling Ventforet Kofu to seventh place in his first season in charge after the Yamanashi club had languished at the bottom of the 12-team second division for three successive years.

But this season, Shimizu's league campaign turned out disappointing with an 11th-place finish in the first stage. Shimizu is currently 10th in the second stage.

Meanwhile, Kyoto Purple Sanga manager Pim Verbeek will be replaced by general manager Bunji Kimura for the remainder of the season, officials of the club said.

Also, Kashima Antlers defender Akira Narahashi has been diagnosed with damaged ligaments in his left knee, officials of the J. League first division side said.

The 31-year-old Narahashi sustained the injury in Saturday's match against Yokohama F. Marinos and was told by doctors he would need at least four weeks for a full recovery.

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