Ramos’ pre-season comments


During FC Gifu’s 2016 “kick off ceremony”, coach Ruy Ramos, entering his third year as manager of the club, had this to say about the upcoming season:

“I’m thinking back to when I was first approached about taking this job. I remember what the team & club was like. It looked like a challenge, but I’ve never run away from a challenge in my life. I felt a good vibe about the project, and that’s why I decided to join.

It has been difficult, no doubt. When I arrived, the club wasn’t as professional as it should have been. I said to (majority financial backer) Mr. Fujisawa ‘Give me three years to try and turn this club around’. Last year was tough, but I want to give it another go this year. I’ve felt that I’ve been able to learn & grow doing this job.

Now that we have our own clubhouse, I can spend a lot of time there. Working with the players, looking at opposition. We want to improve. I wanted to get results last year for (outgoing president Satoshi) Onda, but we couldn’t. That was a weight on my shoulders, but it is something I’m determined to put right this year. I believe we can, especially given the nature & quality of new players we’ve been able to bring in.

It is good to get good players from other clubs, even though we, as a club, finished in a disappointing position last year. I’m particularly happy to get Leonardo Rocha from Brazil. Also, getting Tanaka (Junichi Paulo) & Tatsuya Tanaka made me happy. Veteran players such as (Yoshinari) Takagi & (Masaru) Akiba probably had the chance to go to better clubs, so I’m obviously delighted that they chose to come here. Wellington Rocha brings a lot of experience……..really, I wish I could say a bit about everybody!

I’m thrilled that (Keiji) Takachi is back for another year. I believe in this group of players, and believe that we can progress and make people want to come to the stadium and support us. That’s my message to the supporters and people of Gifu – come here, watch us, support us.”

Okinawa camp


Sorry for the short delay. Work……

Anyway, once again FC Gifu head off to Okinawa to “enjoy” some warm weather training in preparation for the season ahead. The team will play three warm up games in the Ryukyu kingdom:

  • Feb 6th vs Nishihara High School
  • Feb 10th vs SC Sagamihara
  • Feb 12th vs Grulla Morioka

The game against Sagamihara will be a reunion of sorts as Taira Inoue & Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi will face Gifu for the first time since they left the club.

In comments to the media before leaving, coach Ruy Ramos said:

“This year I want to implement a more aggressive philosophy. We need to improve the defence, and part of that will come from altering the balance between defence & attack. We need to utilize space more when we go forward. We can’t simply just hope to attack down the centre of the pitch, we have to look at getting the ball out wide and attacking from there also.”

These comments would seem to imply that the likes of Koya Kazama, Leo Mineiro, Junki Endo, Tsukasa Masuyama and all the other players who can play on the flanks are ticketed for a more important role. It will be interesting to see whether the games in Okinawa will shed any more light on the potential changes.


Squad numbers announced

Hot off the press, here is the list of FC Gifu squad numbers for this season:

  1. Satoshi TOKIZAWA
  2. Masanori ABE
  3. Wellington Rocha
  4. Naoya OKANE
  5. Tsubasa AOKI
  6. Keiji TAKACHI
  7. Paulo Junichi TANAKA
  8. Masaru AKIBA
  10. Leonardo Rocha
  11. Junki ENDO
  12. Koya KAZAMA
  13. Daiki TAMORI
  14. Shun NOGAITO
  15. Yuki FUJI
  16. Tsukasa MASUYAMA
  17. Jun SUZUKI
  18. Yoshinari TAKAGI
  19. William POPP
  20. Yuto ONO
  21. Hiroaki NAMBA
  22. Ryutaro KARUBE
  23. Taisuke MIZUNO
  24. Bruno SUZUKI
  25. Masaya TASHIRO
  26. Yudai OGAWA
  27. Leo Mineiro
  28. Tatsuya TANAKA
  29. Go IWASE

Masaya Tashiro interview

The following is a translation of an interview new FC Gifu defender Masaya Tashiro did with Japanese football website “Soccer King”. You can see the original interview in Japanese here. (I’ve done my best with this translation, but it probably isn’t perfect. Please bear that in mind whilst reading)

How did you start playing football?

I just started playing at elementary school. It wasn’t long before my friends and I joined a team in Warabi Kitamachi (in Saitama).

What kind of team was it?

We were one of the best in the prefecture, but it wasn’t a team that had a professional connection. Just a team for people who wanted to play. At the time, I started to practice a lot of different things, especially lifting (keepy uppy).

What position did you start off in?

Centre back & holding midfielder. Up until junior high school I’d say that it was a fairly even 50-50 split between the two. After I started high school, that was the time that I settled as a centre back. I didn’t feel I was skillful enough to be a midfielder, but I thought I had the physical attributes to be a central defender.

You joined Bunan Junior High School Football Club….

Yes. I tried out for Omiya Ardija juniors & Mitsubishi Yowa (a famous junior club in Saitama) but I was nowhere near good enough! Also, because I lived close to Bunan JHS, I decided to go there and join the football club there.

While at Bunan, you played in the Prince Takamido Trophy.

We had a good team, and we won the prefectural round. In the Kanto regional round, we played Kawasaki Frontale and lost on penalties. And that was that. It was over quickly.

From Bunan JHS you went directly to Bunan High School.

Actually, I had wanted to go to Maebashi Ikuei or Funabashi HS (both famous footballing high schools). But during my final year of junior high school, my coach asked me to speak with Bunan HS’s coach. He explained his vision, and assured me that he would help me grow as a player. My parents, who were also there, were very impressed with him and between us we came to the decision that I would go to Bunan HS.

Was your coach, Oyama, strict?

Haha! Yes, he was. But I think we wanted that. Training was hard, but during my three years there I was able to practice at maybe a higher level of tension.That has set me up well.

How did you get on during your 3 years of high school?

In the third year, we got to the national high school championships, but in the second round we were beaten by Kamikura Gakuin (from Kagoshima).

How was your first experience of the HS championships?

Well, in March of my second year I suffered an injury. I recovered just about in time for the championship, but I never made it off the bench.

When did you start thinking about going to university?

In the third grade of high school. I had had the injury, and I was wondering what I should do. I talked it over with my coach and decided on Hosei. I passed their selection test, and so it was decided that I’d go there.

What did you think of Hosei?

Coming from Bunan, I thought of it as relative freedom!! The actual standard of football was high, but I wasn’t happy with my own level of performance. There were a lot of players there who were famous players from their high schools and I really wondered whether I would get in the team.

When did you first break into the team?

I played a little bit in my first year, but it was in the second year that I started playing regularly.

What did you take from your time playing football at Hosei?

This (last) year, when I moved up from the second team to the first team, I could really see & feel the difference in quality. It became really crystal clear to me that it isn’t just the players who score goals who win you games, it really is about everyone. About their positioning. About timings. About how you approach the opposition. I really learnt a lot this year.

Is there a game that stands out for you?

Yes, the 2014 Prime Ministers Cup final (which Hosei lost 2-1 against Ryutsu Keizai University). Apart from that, none really stand out for me.

Next season, you’ll play for FC Gifu. Who reached out to you?

After this year’s win against Chuyko University in the Prime Ministers Cup, the club said to the coach that they wanted me to take part in training. After we were knocked out of the Prime Ministers Cup, the coach told me about the approach and it was from there I that went to Gifu to train.

How did the offer arrive?

After I took part in training, they offered me a contract. There was another team that was interested, but I felt myself leaning towards Gifu.

There was a bit of time between the offer and the announcement.

Yes. At the time I accepted the offer, Gifu were still fighting to survive in J2. Obviously the club thought it was best to wait to announce it, even though I had decided to join earlier in November.

What was/is your image of Gifu?

I didn’t really see that many Gifu games, but in training we worked on defending sternly, and focusing on our own assignments.

Are there any opponents you are particularly focused on?

Of course, opposition forwards.

Any players you specifically want to play against?

Yes. My Hosei seniors Koji Suzuki and Tomohiro Taira (both of Machida Zelvia). Also, Cerezo Osaka’s Keiji Tamada. I’m looking forward to playing against him.

What will you bring to the team?

I love fighting for headers, and hate to lose. I also believe that the defence starts the attacks. Instead of just clearing the ball, if you can find a pass it immediately puts your opponents on the back foot. If I can do that in defence, then it allows the other players to go and do what they do.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to play at the highest level I can. I want to know how far I can go, and I don’t want to think “It’s impossible” about anything. As for the first year, my goal is to play in at least half of the games during the first half of the season.    

Four days – four new players

A busy week for FC Gifu this week, and no mistake. Here is what the week’s diary might have looked like.

January 12:

Signed defender Wellington Rocha. Born in Brazil but representing East Timor on the international stage, the 190cm defender will take up Gifu’s designated Asian player slot.

January 13:

The news comes in that Leo Mineiro has signed another loan contract with the club, and the contract will last until the end of 2016. I did hear of interest from other club(s) but it will be good to see him on the Nagaragawa pitch next year.

January 14:

A bit of a surprise this one, but Evandro signs for the club. A Brazilian forward who scored 3 in 22 for an Oita side that was relegated last year, he adds to the depth up front.

January 15:

Another Brazilian arrives, this time in the form of midfielder Leonardo Rocha. Rocha has played in his native Brazil, Venezuela and lots of clubs in Azerbaijan.

So, four new signings, and three of them I know very little about. I’m looking forward to seeing them on the training ground soon.

Opening fixtures announced

FC Gifu will start off their 2016 J2 campaign with an away match at ThespaKusatsu Gunma, followed up by their home opener against Consadole Sapporo.

The game at Shoda Shoyu Stadium will take place on Sunday February 28th, KO tbc. Gifu won there last year after the original game was postponed due to thunderstorms. Gifu’s opening home game of the year will take place the week after on Sunday March 6th – again KO tbc.

In last year’s meeting, a Ken Tokura penalty secured a 1-0 win for the visitors.