New arrival Takuya Nozawa says helping the Wollongong Wolves fulfil their A-League dream while playing alongside former teammate Yuzo Tashiro, influenced his decision to join the club.
The five-time J-League title winner was officially unveiled as the Wolves second VISA player on Thursday – a week after the Illawarra Mercury revealed the 36-year-old would be linking up with the club.
Nozawa has played close to 400 games in Japan’s top division, including six seasons alongside current Wolves striker Tashiro while the pair were at Kashima Antlers.
He was released by Vegalta Sendai in January before he was contacted by long-time friend Tashiro in a bid to convince the highly-regarded attacker to come to Wollongong.
"Yuzo was influential in getting him to the club," Wolves coach Jacob Timpano said.
"Obviously being an ex-teammate of his, he showed some interest. The biggest thing is, to attract someone like him, it obviously shows Yuzo has enjoyed his time here and believes in what we are doing.
"For Yuzo to recommend and entice a player of his calibre to Wollongong I think speaks volumes of the club and everyone involved at the moment."
Nozawa admitted it was Tashiro who help convince him that making the move to Australia was the right one.
But the goal-scoring veteran has his own targets for his time playing in the NSW National Premier League campaign.
“The Wolves have a lot of passion to get in the A-League and I want to help with that as much as I can with my experience,” Nozawa told the Mercury through a translator.
“I hope I can make everyone happy, we can get some more wins and be the champions of the league.”
Timpano was delighted to complete his squad with another seasoned overseas talent.
Nico Bernal was the club’s other VISA player last season, but Nozawa’s playing career has reached far greater heights than the Chilean striker.
"He is a class player," Timpano said.
"He is still J1 calibre and was due to play in the competition this season.
"I think he is a genuine playmaker and I think that is an area we have lacked in recent years. His experience and ball playing skills, and I think the passing ability are all class. He has got the ability to link up with Yuzo and I am looking forward to seeing what he can bring.”