June 07, 2015 11:02:11 UK
Western Sydney Wanderers’ tally of released players has hit 13 since the end of the season, after the club parted ways with Japanese duo Yojiro Takahagi and Yusuke Tanaka.
Coach Tony Popovic is rebuilding his squad virtually from scratch after a disappointing campaign that saw Wanderers – who had contested both the previous two Grand Finals – win just four matches in 2014-15.
The expansion club signed defender Tanaka and midfielder Takahagi during the January transfer window, specifically to help them in the defence of their Asian Champions League title.
Both visa players also played in the A-League, but their presence was not enough to rescue the season in either competition. Western Sydney finished next to bottom in the A-League and failed to qualify from their ACL group.
The Japanese pair became known for their sumo-style celebration after goals, with former Sanfrecce Hiroshima player Yojiro scoring three times in his 17 games for the Red & Black.
Yusuke was an ever-present in the Wanderers defence after joining, playing 15 matches across both competitions after joining from Kawasaki Frontale.
Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said: “Yojiro and Yusuke were complete professionals during their time with the Wanderers and I thank them for their time here in Western Sydney.”
Tanaka had played just over 200 J. League Division 1 games before arriving in Australia, spending his first six years with Yokohama F. Marinos and then moving to Kawasaki Frontale.
Takahagi, a year younger than his fellow countryman at 28, earned two Japan caps in 2013 while with Sanfrecce Hiroshima where he helped the club win two J. League Division 1 titles in successive years.
Meanwhile, Australia are 11.00 to win their first match at the Women’s World Cup against the USA, who are 1.20 with the draw 7.00.
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