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Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011

Nishino to leave Gamba after season


OSAKA — Gamba Osaka said Wednesday they will not be renewing the contract of Akira Nishino, one of the J. League's most successful managers.

"The timing is very late but given the current circumstances this is what I was expecting," said Nishino. "I have to accept and understand that the club have a new vision."

Nishino took the helm in 2002 and steered Gamba to their first ever J. League championship in 2005 before winning the Asian Champions League three years later. He is currently in his 10th year in charge of Gamba and the longest-serving manager in the J. League.

Japan midfielder Yasuhito Endo said, "(Nishino) put a lot of faith in me and established an attacking style. I think our styles matched. I'd like to take time to have a long talk with him once the season is over."

Defender Sota Nakazawa added, "I am the player I am because of him (Nishino). It is not easy to put into words."

Nishino is reportedly Urawa Reds leading candidate for next season but the former Kashiwa and Atlanta Olympic team coach refused to be drawn on whether he would accept any offers that are bound to come his way.

"Building a team is not easy. It takes an incredible amount of energy to start from scratch. At this moment in time I'm with Gamba," he said.

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