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The Japanese coach has extended his contract at the club, while former player Bruno Castanheira has returned to the White Swans for the upcoming S.League season.

By Khalis Rifhan
khalis.rifhan@goal.com
@KhalisRifhan

After leading Albirex Niigata (S) to their highest finish of third place in the S.League last season, coach Koichi Sugiyama has been rewarded with a contract extension for the upcoming 2013 league campaign.

It will once again be a new look for Sugiyama’s squad as several of last season's players have been released, with a new cohort of young and exciting players taking their place. 

But White Swans supporters will not see the last of their idols from the 2012 season as some of them will still ply their trade in Singapore, having been snapped up by other local clubs.

Goalkeeper Takuma Ito and captain Norihiro Kawakami have flown to the east with Geylang International FC, while Tampines Rovers have secured the services of central defender Kunihiro Yamashita. 

While the ever-smiling playmaker Musashi Okuyama has returned to Albirex Japan, pony-tailed Atsushi Shimono has made his way to Woodlands Stadium for the new season.

In a statement to Goal.com Singapore, Albirex general manager Koh Mui Tee said that it was natural for other clubs to move for the players who had performed well.

“As to whether Albirex players are more sought after as compared to before, I think this is a question of relativity," Koh pointed out. 

"If our team does well for the season, more clubs would be interested in our players. This also depends on the individual clubs' needs at the end of every season.” "

The new additions to the team includes Bruno Castanheira, who wowed the fans with his trickery and goals when he was on loan at the club from Albirex Japan for two years in 2010.

“I am glad that I can play for Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) again. Since we have not won the league title, I will do my best to achieve it,” Castanheira told Albirex’s Singapore official website.

The club have also turned to 21-year-old former Cerezo Osaka (J.League 1) goalkeeper Kenjiro Ogino, who started his youth career with Kyoto Mineyama High School, to fill the void left by Ito.

Keeping Ogino on his toes will be 35-year-old former goalkeeping coach Hiroaki Hara, who has been registered as a player for the new season.

But despite the massive changes in the club, there will still be a few familiar faces around - defender Yuki Ichikawa and midfielders Shuhei Hotta and Masatake Sato have been retained, while Takeshi Nagasawa has been converted from a coach to a player.

Albirex Niigata (S) 2013 Squad List:

Goalkeepers

Jersey No

Name

Age

Former Club

1

Hiroaki Hara

35

 *

22

Kenjiro Ogino

21

Cerezo Osaka (J1)

Defenders 

Jersey No

Name

Age

Former Club

2

Masahiro Ishikawa

23

Tokushima Vortis (J2)

3

Yuki Ichikawa

25

 *

5

Kento Fukuda

22

Shonan Bellmare (J2)

6

Itsuki Yamada

22

Ritsumeikan University

15

Tatsuya Sase

21

Japan Soccer College

18

Takaaki Usami

19

Japan Soccer College

20

Yuya Nagae

20

Japan Soccer College

24

Naotoshi Ito

20

Japan Soccer College

25

Yu Takano

24

Japan Soccer College

Midfielders 

Jersey No

Name

Age

Former Club

4

Shuhei Hotta

24

 *

8

Takeshi Nagasawa

23

 *

10

Kento Nagasaki

23

Shizuoka Sangyo Uni

13

Gentaro Murakami

21

Japan Soccer College

14

Masatake Sato

22

 

16

Hiroki Morisaki

22

Japan Soccer College

23

Kazuya Fukuzaki

19

Japan Soccer College

Forwards 

Jersey No

Name

Age

Former Club

7

Bruno Castanheira

23

Albirex Niigata Japan

11

Kazuki Sakamoto

23

Ritsumeikan University

17

Ikuma Osaka

19

Japan Soccer College

19

Kazuki Hiroshi

20

Japan Soccer College

21

Yoshinaga Arima

20

Japan Soccer College

26

Katsumi Takahashi

23

Japan Soccer College

*Players retained from 2012 S.League season

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