thumbnail Hello,

The new Vegalta Sendai boss was impressed by Japanese football's season launch and is eager to sink his teeth into the challenge of a J-League season

As if he needed it, the scale of the J-League season launch is just another reminder of the extent of the challenge facing Vegalta Sendai coach Graham Arnold as he embarks on a new chapter in his career.

Having guided Central Coast to last season's A-League title, Arnold left the Mariners in November to test his managerial acumen in Japan, where he played for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 1997 and 1998.

And Friday's J-League's 'Kick-off Conference' reassured the 50-year-old former Socceroos boss that he came to the right place in search of another impressive addition to his CV.

"This is about 50 times bigger than the A-League launch," he said.

"It's exciting; I came here for a challenge. I felt I'd done everything I could do in Australia, coached the national team and was successful in club football. To come here was a challenge and I'm enjoying it at the moment."

Asked how long he expects his stay in Japan to last, Arnold said: "You can't put a time on it, but I haven't come here to be unsuccessful. I've come here to be successful, and hopefully if I can make a good couple years out of it and help Sendai do well and progress forward, then I'll be happy."

Next week Arnold's former team will be in South Korea to tackle last season's beaten finalists FC Seoul in the 2014 AFC Champions League group stage.

The competition has a far higher profile in Japan, but Arnold believes the Australian football community is beginning to recognise the importance of succeeding in the region-wide event.

"The Australian mentality is starting to change toward the ACL; it didn't take off with recognition in Australia," he said.

"Central Coast Mariners in the last couple years have had crowds of 1500 people (in the ACL). It's good to come here to a mentality that everyone embraces the ACL, but that's starting to change in Australia as well."

Related

From the web