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Kawasaki Frontale's miserable first season in the J League's first division continued unabated on Wednesday when the club released veteran Brazilian striker Mazinho.
The 34-year-old former Flamengo forward had been signed from Kashima Antlers in February to lead the Frontale attack in the top flight following their second division championship success last year.

But persistent hamstring and thigh injuries have meant that Mazinho played in only eight of the first 19 league games, scoring only one goal. On Wednesday, the club decided to cut their losses and released him five months early.

Mazinho, whose full name is Waldemar Aureliano De Oliveira Filho, followed a long line of quality Brazilians, such as the legendary Zico, Leonardo, Jorginho and Carlos Mozer, to Kashima in September 1995.

He helped Antlers win the league championship in 1996 and 1998 and scored a total of 52 goals in exactly 100 league games before being released at the end of last season.

Frontale moved in quickly, hoping that Mazinho's experience would help his teammates find their feet in the top flight.

But Frontale, who sacked Brazilian manager Zeca during the first stage and saw Paraguyan midfielder Guido Alvarenga return home halfway through the season, have picked up only 10 points from 19 games and are set for a swift return to the second division, 11 points from safety with 11 games to go.
 
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