Soccer: Ukishima steps down as Bellmare manager

© Kyodo News

Bin Ukishima has stepped down as manager of Shonan Bellmare, with coach Satoshi Yamaguchi taking over as his immediate replacement, the J-League first-division side announced Wednesday.

The Kanagawa Prefecture club is fighting to stay above the relegation zone in 15th place, having taken 26 points from five wins, 11 draws and 11 losses so far this season.

"Our target was 50 points, but we've continuously lost leads in games and that's my responsibility as manager," Ukishima said in a statement from the club.

The 53-year-old took the reins at Shonan midway through the 2019 campaign, when the club finished 16th and avoided relegation to the second division in a playoff.

The club finished bottom of the 18-team J1 standings last season, when relegation was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yamaguchi, 43, who joined the Bellmare coaching staff this season, said his appointment as manager had been unexpected.

"It was sudden, but I decided to accept the offer," he said.