Miyazaki, on the southern island of Kyushu is much more famous for its beautiful natural scenery than it is for football. The closest the residents of Miyazaki usually get to pro football is when some J.League teams go and do their pre-season camps down there. That isn’t to say that there aren’t J.League ambitions. As @GifuRichy is about to explain to us, the will seems to be there, but the way seems to be unclear…..
One of the most laid-back of all the prefectures in Japan, is the sunny, surf prefecture of Miyazaki. With warm winters and mangoes aplenty, Miyazaki is known for its relaxed lifestyle and this attitude is seen not just in business and living, but sports as well.
Miyazaki Prefecture still looks well behind on its ability to produce a J team, but just recently a couple of teams have popped up and are trying to start a movement in Kyushu’s most isolated prefecture.
(Note: Miyazaki Prefecture does have a team in the JFL, Honda Lock. This team however has announced that it is aiming to become the best amateur team in Japan, and has no intention of becoming professional).
- 2005 Miyazaki 2nd Division
- 2008 Miyazaki 1st Division
- 2010 Kyushu League
- 2013 Miyazaki 1 st Division
- 2016 Kyushu League
The club has been around since 1965, but didn’t really get serious until 2007 when they became MSU SC. They were promoted up the divisions but found the going tough in the Kyushu League, being relegated, only to bounce straight back up the following year. In 2015 the team announced that it was changing its name to Tegevajaro (Great Bull & Bird) Miyazaki and were aiming to be in J3 in 2017.
In their first year as Tegevajaro, the team managed to finish 2nd in the Kyushu League, which was a great step up from their previous best of 7th of 2010 and 2014.
This year the team have a good chance of topping the league, however they still have to get past company teams like last years winners Shinnittetsu Sumikin Oita, and local rivals J.FC Miyazaki. Also off the field they will be looking to build up their fanbase as well as trying to attract more sponsors. While a trip to the Regional Finals is a good possibility, the team would most likely find the going too tough to be promoted and be anywhere near their target of J3 in 2017.
- 2014 Miyazaki 1 st Division
- 2015 Kyushu League
J.FC Miyazaki realized that there wasn’t a team from Miyazaki Prefecture that was officially aiming for a J spot, and in 2014 was created in order to do that. The team breezed through a relatively weak Miyazaki 1 st Division and last year played its first year in the Kyushu League where they finished 3 rd behind Shintetsu Oita and Tegevajaro Miyazaki.
J.FC Miyazaki look like they have a 50/50 split with Tegevajaro of the football fans within Miyazaki at the moment. With both teams announcing at similar times that they were aiming for J3, this has caused a bit of confusion in Miyazaki about which team to support. The second match between the two teams last year which Tegevajaro won on PKs, was attended by over 1000 people.
J.FC Miyazaki have a good chance to top the Kyushu League this year, but like rivals Tegejavaro, the Regional Finals look like they will be a step too far.
Providing politics and stubbornness don’t get in the way, a merger between these two clubs looks like it could be a good way to go. It would be less confusing for supporters, would mean the best players in one team, and the team could attract all of the limited financial resources available. Miyazaki Prefecture also has two JFL approved stadiums which could be easily modified into J3 stadiums in Kirishima and Nobeoka.
Looking at all the information on other prefectures trying to produce a J club, it looks like Miyazaki still has the biggest challenges ahead, and may be the last prefecture “chasing the J”.
NOTE – if you are interested in following thse sides and/or improving your Japanese, then you can find them on Facebook.