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Thursday, Aug. 12, 2004

Mboma joins Kobe

KOBE (Kyodo) Former Cameroon international striker Patrick Mboma has joined J. League first division club Vissel Kobe on a one-year contract, Kobe officials said Wednesday.

The 33-year-old, who last week parted company with Tokyo Verdy, has completed player registration papers and could make his debut on the opening day of the second stage at home to Urawa Reds on Saturday.

Frustrated with his role as a substitute, Mboma left Verdy on Friday while Kobe announced the departure of Turkish World Cup star Ilhan Mansiz after he missed much of the J. League's first stage due to a knee injury.

A knee injury forced Mboma to start on the bench in many of Verdy's first-stage matches.

Mboma scored four goals in 12 first-stage matches this year after returning to the J. League on a deal with Verdy he signed in January 2003.

In his first spell in the J. League in 1997-1998, Mboma scored 29 times for Gamba Osaka in 34 league games and also picked up the J. League's top-scorer award in 1997.

He went on to win an Olympic gold medal with Cameroon in Sydney in 2000 and played in his second World Cup in the 2002 finals cohosted by Japan and South Korea, scoring one goal.

In a surprise move, Mboma joined Libyan club Al Ittihad from Italian first division side Parma after a disappointing 2002 season, during which he spent three months on loan at English club Sunderland.

Otsuka beats Reggina

NARUTO, Tokushima Pref. (Kyodo) Japanese club Otsuka FC came from a goal down to sweep aside Serie A side Reggina 4-2 in an international friendly in Tokushima Prefecture on Wednesday.

Reggina's Japanese midfield maestro Shunsuke Nakamura gave the Italians the lead from the penalty spot in the 48th minute but Otsuka, which plays in the Japan Football League, hit back with three goals inside 15 minutes.

Takehiro Hayashi, Shinya Ueda and substitute Hirokazu Otsubo all found the target and after Massimo Ganci pulled one back for the visitors, Otsubo sealed the win for Otsuka with his second eight minutes from time.

It was the second defeat in as many games for Reggina, which was beaten 2-1 by Nakamura's old club Yokohama F. Marinos 2-1 on Sunday in the first game of its preseason tour of Japan.

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