Southeast Asia Vietnam

Former Renofa Head Coach Shimoda Takes Charge of Sai Gon as Van Trien is Set for Ryukyu Loan Switch

Former Renofa Yamaguchi head coach Masahiro Shimoda has taken charge of V.League 1 side Sai Gon FC on Wednesday of this week. This comes after the Van Lang Education Group – Sai Gon’s backers – have taken over the PVF Football Center from Vingroup this month, which saw former head coach Vu Tien Thanh taking up the role of technical director there.

Shimoda’s appointment came as the latest move in the J.League-themed revolution at the Ho Chi Minh City-based club, after the partnership between Sai Gon and FC Tokyo, the recruitment of several J.League-experienced staff members, and the signing of several players from the league.

Born in 1967, Shimoda’s tenure at Renofa saw the Yamaguchi Prefecture-based club finishing eighth in the 2018 J.League 2, their highest finish to date. However, Shimoda also oversaw Renofa’s last-placed finish in the COVID-disrupted 2020 J2 season, with the abolishment of relegation saving Renofa from the drop to the third-tier. He was subsequently replaced by former Vegalta Sendai head coach Susumu Watanabe at the end of the 2020 season, with Shimoda being offered a role as a general manager at Sai Gon. However, staff changes meant that Shimoda assumes the role of Sai Gon’s head coach as Tien Thanh departs to oversaw youth development at the PVF academy.

Shimoda will make his maiden bow as a V.League 1 head coach on March 19th, with his Sai Gon side taking on Ho Chi Minh City FC in the latest edition of the Ho Chi Minh Derby at the Thong Nhat Stadium. Having already played their Round 3 match prior to the league’s suspension, Sai Gon could afford an extra week’s worth of preparation as the league recommences on March 13th with the remaining Round 3 matches yet to be played.

In other news relating to Sai Gon’s close relationship with the J.League, the club have decided to send midfielder Cao Van Trien out on loan to J2 side FC Ryukyu. Van Trien will become the third Southeast Asian player to turn out for the Okinawa Prefecture-based side in 2021, following compatriot Tran Danh Trung and exciting Thai youngster Sittichok Paso. Danh Trung joins Ryukyu on loan from defending V.League 1 champions Viettel FC while Sittichok, having been loaned out to Kagoshima United and Trat FC in recent years, was loaned out to Ryukyu by Thai League 1 giants Chonburi FC.

Speaking about the imminent departure of one of Sai Gon’s best players in 2020 to VNExpress, Shimoda voiced his confidence that Van Trien could cut it in the J2.

“In terms of ability, Cao Van Trien is a very good player,” said Shimoda, “Through observing training sessions as well as evaluating the learning capabilities of the players, I believe that Van Trien can do well in Japan. Living abroad is not a problem, he can adapt. There are many Thai players playing well in Japan, so there’s no reason that Vietnamese players could not step up to their level as well.”