Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: Fagiano Okayama

Stadium: Momotaro Stadium
Average attendance 2008: N/A
Last season's finish: 4th (JFL)

2009 season's transfers:
GK Hidenori Mago (Transferred from Sagawa Shiga F.C.
GK Kazuma Shiina (Drafted from Ryutsu Keizai University F.C.)
DF Kazuya Sakamoto (Transferred from Urawa Red Diamonds)
DF Masahiko Sawaguchi (Transferred from F.C. Ryukyu)
DF Takashi Nishihara (Drafted from Ehime University)
DF Ryujiro Ueda (Transferred from Gamba Osaka)
DF Yutaka Baba (Drafted from Osaka Gakuin University)
DF Yuichi Morimoto (Drafted from Komazawa University)
MF Kazunari Hosaka (Transferred from Ventforet Kofu)
MF Kengo Ukai (Transferred from Ventforet Kofu)
MF Yuki Kotera (Drafted from Hannan University)
MF Ryohei Kamon (Drafted from Momoyama Gakuin University)
MF Yuji Makihara (Drafted from Kobe International University)a
FW Kohei Nishino (On loan from Oita Trinita)
FW Tsuyoshi Shinchu (Drafted from Biwako Seikei Sport College)
FW Takuro Yoshioka (Drafted from Shizuoka Sangyo University)
FW Shotaro Dei (Drafted from Kochi University)
FW Takuya Yamamoto (Drafted from International Pacific University)

GK Takaya Tsutsumi (Released)
DF Takuya Ito (Transferred to New Wave Kitakyushu)
FW Yusaku Asahina (Transferred to Kamatamare Sanuki)
MF Hideyuki Nakagawa (Released)
DF Takaki Shigemitsu (Transferred to New Wave Kitakyushu)
DF Hideaki Ikematsu (Transferred to FC Târgovi?te)
FW Sho Kamogawa (Released)
MF Takamichi Seki (Transferred to Okinawa Kariyushi F.C.)

My view on the transfers:
Fagiano have brought in a few reinforcements to adjust to life in J2, but noe of which can really be called quality-players. Two rookie defenders from Urawa and Gamba respectively will boost the defence, while two midfielders from Kofu is set to strengthen that part of the field. The biggest signing is FW Nishino from Oita, who played for Mito the last couple of season. A decent forward, but isn't exactly a goalgetter.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Lee - Ozaki, Sawaguchi, Nomoto, Ueda / Ukai - Tamabayashi, Kawahara, Senoh / Hosaka, Ono - Nishino, Kobayashi / Kiyama

My view on the team:
Fagiano doesn't look any particularly strengthened since last season, and like Kataller they will probably struggle to make much of an impact. They finished 4th in JFL last season, behind both Tochigi and Kataller. There are several players with experience from J2 earlier in the team, which might be a good thing as they then know what to expect. The players brought in doesn't look any particular better than the ones already at the team, but will surely make use of themselves even as back-up. The defence looks the weakest part, with rather inexperienced players.

Player to watch: Shugo Kawahara

Manager: Satoshi Tezuka
Tezuka's been in charge of Fagiano since 2007, and have done a pretty good job with the club. Before that he was the manager of Thespa Kusatsu. A former Japanese international, Tezuka is an experienced figure in japanaese football.

Fagiano averaged around 3,500 last season, but those figures are expected to rise a little this season. At most they had over 11,000, so the interest is there.

Where they will finish:
Like Kataller, I think Fagiano will be one of the bottom-dwellers this season. They haven't done anything to strengthen their team since last year, and I doubt those players are good enough to bring them success in J2.

16th -18th

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