Women's 2011 football World Cup winner Yukari Kinga vowed to lead Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina to the WE League title on Monday ahead of the new campaign starting this weekend.

The 39-year-old former Japan right-back has lifted the WE League Cup that opened the women's football season in August after Hiroshima beat Albirex Niigata Ladies 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw in the Oct. 14 final.

Representatives from 12 clubs pose for a photo during a WE League football kick-off event in Tokyo on Nov. 6, 2023. (Kyodo)

"The desire to win a title got stronger after winning one, and we want to aim for that in the league, too," Kinga said at a kick-off event in Tokyo as Hiroshima look to improve on their fifth-place finish last term.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina captain Yukari Kinga speaks during a WE League football kick-off event in Tokyo on Nov. 6, 2023. (Kyodo)

The league welcomes newcomers Cerezo Osaka Yanmar Ladies as it expands to 12 teams, looking to continue providing a strong platform for the national team, who reached the last eight at the World Cup and won the Asian Games this year.

"I feel the stage is set," Chairperson Haruna Takata said ahead of the professionalized league's third season. "I think there could be a new star (born) and different teams making their mark."





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