Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: Ventforet Kofu

Stadium: Kose Sports Stadium (17,000)
Average attendance 2008: 10,354
Last season's finish: 7th

2009 season's transfers:
GK Kota Ogi (On loan from Vissel Kobe)
DF Daniel (On loan from Associação Desportiva São Caetano)
DF Yuki Toma (Drafted from Hamamatsu University)
MF Marcelo Labarthe
MF Naoki Hatada (Transferred from Kashiwa Reysol youth team)
MF Hiromu Karasawa (Promoted from youth team)
11 FW Maranhao (Transferred from Sertãozinho)
FW Kim Sin-Young (Transferred from Cerezo Osaka)
FW Masaru Matsuhashi (On loan from Oita Trinita)
FW Hiroshi Morita (Transferred from Omiya Ardija)
FW Yuki Koike (Drafted from Chuo University)

5 DF Yuki Inoue (Transferred to Tochigi S.C.)
6 MF Kazunari Hosaka (Transferred to Fagiano Okayama F.C.)
8 MF Daiki Tamori (Transferred to Ehime F.C.)
11 FW Jun Uruno (Transferred to Roasso Kumamoto)
14 FW Josimar (Transferred to Ehime F.C.)
15 FW Sales (Released)
17 MF Tomoyoshi Tsurumi (Retired)
18 FW Toshiaki Haji (Transferred to Tokushima Vortis)
20 FW Shota Kimura (Transferred to Matsumoto Yamaga F.C.)
22 GK Shigeru Sakurai (End of loan from Montedio Yamagata)
23 MF Kengo Ukai (Transferred to Fagiano Okayama F.C.)
26 DF Ken Yorii (Transferred to Matsumoto Yamaga F.C.)
28 MF Daisuke Kanzaki (Transferred to V-Varen Nagasaki)
35 DF Ryo Yamamoto (Released)

My view on the transfers:
Kofu has done some adjustments to their team since last season, mainly in attack where three new strikers has been brought in. Maranhao's loan-deal has been turned into a permanent move, and to aid him Kim from Cerezo, Morita from Omiya and Matsuhashi from Oita have joined the team. GK Ogi is on loan from Vissel, and most likely he will see some playing time this season. In defence, a couple of frequent starters are gone, and the only newcomer are Daniel from Brazil. Marcelo will surely add some skills to the midfield.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Abe / Ogi - Akimoto / Sugiyama, Yamamoto, Daniel, Ikehata / Wada - Mio, Fujita, Marcelo, Ishihara - Maranhao, Morita / Kim

My view on the team:
Not a bad squad, but not a particularly good either. There's no real leaders in the team that can guide them up to the next level, like Bare did earlier for them. There's no obvious weak points in the team either though, so I think they will be able to put up a fight with even the best teams in the league. Unlike last season, in which they struggled alot with scoring goals, the attack almost looks like the strongest part of the team this year. Maranhao is good for atleast 15 goals when he got a complete season to do it on, and altohugh Morita never blossomed in J1 he should be good enough to pose a threat to teams at this level. Kim were weighed too light for Cerezo, but looked good at times at Sagan last season, and Matsuhashi and Maeda are also players that can deliver at this stage.

Player to watch: Maranhao

Manager: Takayoshi Anma
Anma is a rather inexperienced coach, but didn't do a bad job last season in charge. Especially the 2nd hald of the 2008-season Kofu looked quite good, and Anma seems to have done alot of things right. He's got overall a better squad to work with this season than the last.

Kofu had one of the biggest average-crowds in J2 last season, and lost remarkably few fans after the relegation in 2007. Most teams experience a drastic decrease in the crowd after that, but that didn¨t happened with Kofu which shows how loyal their fans are.

Where they will finish:
Kofu should be able to do better this year than last season, in which they finished on a disappointing 7th. Whether or not they are good enough to aim for a top 3 finish remains to be seen, but with maximum luck such a place are within reach. However, they need one or two of the players to step forward if that is to happen, and the strikers needs to be consistent goalscorers as well. There's a good spirit within the team though, which will of course boost the team's performances.

4th - 8th

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