Welcome Yohei Iwasaki

Yesterday (Thursday), FC Gifu announced the signing of defender Yohei Iwasaki, previously of Rangdajied United in India. Despite being only 27 years old, Iwasaki has had his fair share of clubs having had spells in Paraguay, Brazil, India and here in Japan with Albirex Niigata & Ganju Iwate in the Tohoku League.

Iwasaki’s comments:

  • “Hello to all FC Gifu supporters. I will do my best to help make the team successful. Also, being born in Mie Prefecture (a neighbouring prefecture to Gifu), I’m hoping to get a lot of support from there.”

Many people have commented that he played for Gifu in a trial game a couple of years ago, but didn’t get signed, possibly due to injury. Hopefully Iwasaki takes his second chance here. Good luck Yohei!

FC Gifu v Yokohama FC

Gifu will look to do the double over their Kanagawa counterparts when Motohiro Yamaguchi’s men visit the Nagaragawa Stadium on Sunday evening.

Team news:

FC Gifu coach Ruy Ramos has some big decisions to make regarding his starting line up. The young players did really in the last league game down in Kumamoto, although many weren’t as impressive in the Tennouhai defeat at Nagasaki last week. My guess is that despite Tokihisa’s impressive game in Kumamoto, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi will return in goal. Nazarit will also be looking to return, but it will be difficult to drop Junki Endo, with the youngster having scored in his previous two league games.

My predicted starting XI: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Abe, Kitani, Santos, Miyazawa, Mizuno, Henik, Takachi, Endo, Namba

For Yokohama FC, defender Takanori Nakajima misses the game due to suspension. Yamaguchi’s men have won just once in the last eleven outings, that being a 2-0 away at Thespa Kusatsu Gunma, and currently find themselves in 19th place in the table. They’ve suffered from a lack of goals this year and testament to that is the fact Masaru Kurotsu is their top scorer with just 3 goals.

Form guide – last five league games (most recent first):

  • FC Gifu: WLDLL
  • Yokohama FC: DDDDL

Previous games in Gifu:

  • 2009 – FC Gifu 2-0 Yokohama FC
  • 2010 – FC Gifu 0-1 Yokohama FC
  • 2011 – FC Gifu 4-3 Yokohama FC
  • 2012 – FC Gifu 0-2 Yokohama FC
  • 2013 – FC Gifu 0-2 Yokohama FC

Overall J.League record:

  • FC Gifu wins: 5
  • Yokohama FC wins: 7
  • Draws: 3

What happened last time?

Gifu went to Mitsuzawa back in April, and came away with all three points thanks to a first half Nazarit penalty, followed by a stirring backs to the wall defensive performance.

Match details:

  • J.League division 2, Matchday 22: FC Gifu v Yokohama FC
  • Venue: Nagaragawa Stadium, Sunday July 20th, KO 6pm
  • Broadcast: Live on Gifu-chan, live on Skapa premium service
  • Weather: Cloudy, some sunshine but with chance of rain. Hot & humid with a high of 33°C

Stipe finds a new home

It didn’t take long for Stipe Plazibat to find a new home as he joined J2 side V-Varen Nagasaki earlier this week. The Croatian attacker signs on with a side that already boasts plenty of attacking talent, not least another ex-FC Gifu player in Koichi Sato.

I’m happy that he has decided to stay in Japan. My thoughts on him as a player are well documented, and I wish him well down in Kyushu.

Of course, I hope he is on the losing side when Gifu travel to Nagasaki next month though!

Rest in Peace

Of course, I’m an FC Gifu supporter. But I’m also a fan of the J.League, and especially the supporters who help make games so enjoyable to watch. So it was with sadness that I learned of the tragic passing away of two Kyoto Sanga supporters yesterday.

The supporters were on their way to watch Sanga’s Emperor’s Cup game away at Gainare Tottori when their car was involved in crash in a tunnel on the outskirts of Kyoto. One of the deceased, Nakamoto-san, was one of the Sanga call leaders who, according to various sources, helped organized donations to Gifu’s survival fund when Kyoto visited Nagaragawa in the recent past. Almost every response to this has been along the lines of “it is so sad to lose a fellow J.League fan.” My sentiments exactly.

My thoughts go out to their families, friends & fellow Kyoto supporters. Rest in peace.  ご冥福をお祈りします.

Practice match vs Shimizu S-Pulse

Yesterday, in the sweltering afternoon heat, FC Gifu beat Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 in practice game held at S-Pulse’s training ground. Goals from Nazarit (2) and Ryoto Higa gave Gifu the win.

While we are on the subject of Shimizu S-Pulse it is never a chore to plug their English language Twitter feed at @spulse_eng. It is good work from the man behind the S-Pulse ultras site.

Tennouhai done: V-Varen Nagasaki 3-1 FC Gifu

FC Gifu once again bowed out of the Emperor’s Cup at their first attempt, suffering a seemingly comprehensive 3-1 defeat in Nagasaki.

I say seemingly because due to broadcasting restrictions I haven’t been able to see any of the game, and that goes for most of the other Emperor’s Cup action.

So, I’ll just run through some bullet points from the game:

  • Young goalkeeper Gakuji Ota started. He will have learned a lot from the other three more experience GK’s in training, but nothing beats live game action. Hopefully he’ll benefit from the experience
  • Thiago was given his FC Gifu debut, but was promptly taken off after 30 minutes. This is unfortunate for Thiago, but we saw it with Takumi Kiyomoto last year being subbed very early. I’m personally not a fan of the early sub, especially where young players are involved. Hopefully he’ll learn from this and be better for it.
  • Once again it was a pretty young starting line-up. It will be interesting to see how many veterans make it back into the starting line up for next week’s visit of Yokohama FC.

That’s about it. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch highlights somewhere. Maybe.