Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: FC Gifu

Stadium: Nagaragawa Stadium ( 31,000)
Average attendance 2008: 3,560
Last season's finish: 13th

2009 season's transfers:
GK Toshiya Shigenari (Drafted from Sakai High School)
GK Kyohei Noda (Transferred from FC Ryukyu)
DF Hideyoshi Akita (Transferred from Gainare Tottori)
DF Shuto Tanaka (Drafted from Tsukuba University)
DF Yasutaka Nomoto (Drafted from Tsukuba University)
DF Shinji Tominari (Drafted from Fukuoka University)
MF Seo Kwan-Soo (Transferred from Suwon City)
MF Suguru Hashimoto (Transferred from Vejle Boldklub)
MF Kazuki Someya (Drafted from Nara Sangyo University)
MF Takuma Nagayoshi (Drafted from Tsukuba University)
FW Yudai Nishikawa (Drafted from Tsukuba University)
FW Park Joon-Kyung (Drafted from Kyushu Sangyo University)
FW Cha Dong-Hoon (Drafted from Shugakukan High School)

1 GK Naoto Kono (Retired)
2 DF Kota Fukatsu (Transferred to F.C. Machida Zelvia)
4 DF Takayuki Komine (Released)
6 MF Shinya Nasu (Released)
7 MF Ryuji Kitamura (Transferred to Matsumoto Yamaga F.C.)
9 FW Shinya Aikawa (End of loan from Consadole Sapporo)
17 MF Masamichi Yamada (Released)
18 MF Mitsunori Yabuta (Released)
19 DF Koji Yoshimura (Retired)
20 MF Hiromi Kojima (Released)
21 GK Suguru Hino (Transferred to Tokushima Vortis)
22 GK Nobunari Nishida (Released)
23 MF Masahiro Iwata (Released)
25 FW Hiromi Kojima (On loan to F.C. Kariya)
28 MF Satoshi Sato (Released)
29 FW Kang Hyo-Il (On loan to F.C. Kariya)
30 MF Yosuke Kawasaki (On loan to F.C. Kariya)
33 MF Takashi Umeda (End of loan from Oita Trinita)

My view on the transfers:
Gifu have signed a dozen of University-players, but only MF Hashimoto from Vejle in Denmark have any previous experience with top-flight football. Meanwhile, they've relased just as many, with several players that were used on a frequent basis last season are gone. That includes goalie Hino, who's gone to Tokushima, and in defence four members that received a fair amount of playing time last season are gone as well. They've made just as many changes to their midfield, while up front they have the same players as last year.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Mizutani / Noda - Nomoto, Kawashima, Tanaka / Akita, Ki.Kan / Tominari - Takagi / Seo, Ka.Kan, Shimada, Hashimoto / Nagayoshi - Katagiri, Katayama

my view on the team:
With so many inexperienced players and so many changes to their squad, i'ts hard to predict how Gifu will fare this season, but the team looks overall weaker than last season. Unless the new players get settled really soon, Gifu will be in for a tough season and probably be lurking near the bottom of the table. They got a decent attack though with Katayama and Katagiri, as well as Korean Park in back-up.

Player to watch: Atsushi Katagiri

Manager Hideki Matsunaga
An experienced coach, that has been in charge of Verdy,Vissel and Kofu in the past. A respected figure in japanese football, and is good at working with youngsters which is good with regards to all the young players at the club.

Gifu averaged just above 3 000 last season, and is one of the poorest supported team in the league. Got some passionate fans though, which despite the modest number manages to create a good atmosphere at the matches.

Where they will finish:
Gifu looks no stronger than newcomers Toyama and Fagiano this year, and I think they are one of the teams in the front-seat for the last-place and wooden-spoon award. With so many young and untested players they are in for a tough season, but they should be able to beat atleast one of the newly-promoted teams and finish above last place.


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