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Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010

Stojkovic, Oliveira dislike schedule

KASHIMA, Ibaraki Pref. (Kyodo) Managers Dragan Stojkovic and Oswaldo Oliveira cried out for immediate change to the Japanese soccer calendar on Saturday, saying the three-week gap between the end of the J. League season and the Emperor's Cup quarterfinals is incomprehensible.

Stojkovic, who led Nagoya Grampus to their first league championship this season, said it was hard to keep his players sharp — mentally as well as physically — with no continuity in the schedule, which always starts in the first week of March and ends with the Emperor's Cup final on New Year's Day.

"My personal opinion is, the J. League finished the fourth of December and three weeks later, we're waiting for a cup game," the league's coach of the year said.

"This gap, I don't really understand. The (Japan Football Association) or some people who is responsible for the schedule must do something because it really doesn't make sense."

Kashima Antlers' Oliveira, who has pointed out the irregularities of the Japanese fixtures on more than one occasion in the past, echoed Stojkovic's sentiments.

"There are no games from Dec. 4 to the 25th, yet we play three matches in six days toward the end of the J. League season," Oliveira said.

"I don't get it. I think we can make better use of December. When you consider the prestige the Emperor's Cup is supposed to have, it's unfathomable to me."

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