On Friday, FC Gifu announced that Keiju Karashima wouldn’t be the man to lead the club into the 2014 J2 season.
It isn’t really a surprise, but he deserves a huge helping of thanks from the fans and the board. He came in after Koji Gyotoku was sacked following a 4-1 home defeat by Mito Hollyhock in August. His stated aim was to keep FC Gifu in J2, and he kept his word.
Two key results will define his reign, the 1-0 win at Thespa Kusatsu Gunma and the 2-1 home win against Gainare Tottori. In the win in Gunma, it was his decision to replace Stipe with Blazhe that ultimately won the game for Gifu as the Macedonian scored the winning goal. The following week, his decision to stick with Stipe in the starting XI paid huge dividends as the Croatian forward scored both goals in the win that, in hindsight, relegated Tottori.
It is currently unclear (to me, at least) whether Karashima will retain a role within the club. I suppose it depends who the new man is. The club said in a statement released to the local NHK station that the new coach “will have J.League experience.” Rui Ramos has already been linked with the post, while Toshihide Saito resigned from his position at Fujieda MYFC yesterday.
Thank you Keiju Karashima. Your efforts in your short tenure will not be forgotten in a hurry.