Impress your mates with you knowledge of our opponent on Tuesday, Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
On Tuesday, Central Coast Mariners will play the second match of their 2014 AFC Champions League Group F campaign against 2013 J.League Champions, Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Home fixtures in the AFC Champions League are critically important to any side-s hopes of progressing through to the knockout stage of Asia-s top club competition, so the Mariners will need to be on their game against the men from the land of the rising sun.
While Phil Moss and his staff will do the analytical work on Hajime Moriyasu-s outfit, we-ve put together this brief fact file on ‘Sanfre- to ensure our supporters know their Hisato Sato-s from their Mihael Mikic-s by the time the side from the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium arrive in town.
THE CLUB: Founded: 1938 Coach: Hajime Moriyasu Captain: Hisato Sato Stadium: Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium (capacity: 50,000) Colours: Purple, White J1 Titles: 2 (2013, 2012)
Did you know? Sanfrecce is a name that was created by combining the Japanese word for three, “san”, with the Italian word for “frecce (arrow), meaning “three arrows”. This team name indicated the support obtained for the Club via the three unified strengths of Hiroshima citizens, local administration, and business. The three arrows are depicted in the Club-s quite simply stunning crest.
Tell me more… Sanfrecce Hiroshima have been through several incarnations as a Club since the side was founded in Hiroshima in 1938. Originally known as the Toyo Kogyo Syukyu Club (“Syukyu” means “football” in Japanese), the Club has also been known as Mazda Sports Club Toyo Kogyo Soccer Club, and simply Mazda Soccer Club. When the J.League formed in 1992, the owner changed the name to Sanfrecce Hiroshima. In the J.League era, Sanfrecce have played all bar two seasons in J1. 2014 marks the Club-s third participation in the AFC Champions League Group Stage, and this season the men from Hiroshima will be aiming to reach the knockout phase of the competition for the very first time.
THE COACH: Hajime Moriyasu Sanfrecce manager Hajime Moriyasu is a legend of the Hiroshima Club, having served the men from the Big Arch Stadium with distinction as a player between 1987 and 2001. Indeed, former midfielder Moriyasu played nearly 300 competitive matches for Sanfrecce, and was a teammate of former Mariners mentor Graham Arnold in 1997. Purple seems to be a colour Moriyasu shares a deep affinity with, as even when he briefly went on loan from Sanfrecce in 1998 it was to Kyoto Purple Sanga. Granted, Moriyasu finished his playing days in the yellow of Vegalta Sendai, but he was appointed manager of Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2012, rekindling his love affair with the Club. Since then, Moriyasu has guided ‘Sanfre- to two J1 titles in a row.
THE STAR PLAYERS: Mihael Mikic Nationality: Croatian Date of Birth: 6/1/1980 Place of Birth: Zagreb, Croatia Position: Right Winger / Attacking Midfield Height: 177cm Weight: 68kg Experienced attacking midfielder Mihael Mikic has been with Sanfre since the 2009 J.League season, having arrived at the Club from perennial Croatian heavyweights Dinamo Zagreb. The 34-year-old playmaker has enjoyed a long and established career in world football, having played with Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League, as well as having spent time in the German Bundesliga with FC Kaiserslautern. Mikic has represented Croatia at youth level, and has been a key member for Sanfrecce over their past two J1 title winning seasons.
Hisato Sato Nationality: Japanese Date of Birth: 12/03/1982 Place of Birth: Saitama, Japan Position: Striker Height: 170cm Weight: 71kg Japanese international marksman Hisato Sato is one of the gun strikers in the J.League. The 31-year-old attacker played at three J.League sides - JEF United, Cerezo Osaka, and Vegalta Sendai - before linking with Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2005. Since arriving at the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium, Sato has played close to 300 competitive matches for the purple-whites, averaging a goal every two games. The forward made his debut for the Samurai Blue (Japan-s National Football Team) in 2006 in a friendly against the United States, and netted his first international goal for his country 11 days later against India in a 2007 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier. Interestingly, Sato holds the record for the fastest goal in J.League history (8 seconds). He scored for Hiroshima from the kick-off on April 22, 2006 against one of his old clubs, Cerezo Osaka.
Toshihiro Aoyama Nationality: Japanese Date of Birth: 22/2/1986 Place of Birth: Okayama, Japan Position: Defensive Midfield Height: 174cm Weight: 73kg
Despite only being 28 years old, defensive midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama is already a legend of the Sanfrecce Hiroshima Club. Aoyama played his youth football at Sakuyo High School, before Sanfre spotted his talent and signed him in 2004. Since then, the midfield man has played an impressive 229 competitive times for the Hajime Moriyasu-s men. Aoyama netted a goal on debut in the J-League Cup in 2004, however arguably one of his finest moments in the purple of Sanfrecce came in may 2012, when he scored from inside his own half in a match against Yokohama F. Marinos. Spotting the ‘keeper off his line, Aoyama had no hesitation to take the strike, and was rewarded when his effort hit the back of the net without taking a single bounce!
2014 AFC Champions League Matchday 2 (Group F) - Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tuesday 11 March 2014 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:30pm Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! We-ll be using #CCMvSH Tickets: www.Ticketek.com.au or buy a 3 match pass for just $30 HERE.