Forget the ridiculous name, this is game that has a lot riding on it, both in short term consequences & long term. Most people know about Gainare Tottori, but what of their opponents?
Who are Kamatamare Sanuki?
Hailing from Kagawa prefecture in Shikoku, Kamatamare have been a big name in the JFL/regional scene for a while. Splitting their games between Takamatsu (the biggest city in Shikoku) and Marugame (site of an important historic castle), Kama regularly attract crowds larger than in J2.
Are they any good?
Yes. They topped the JFL at the halfway point of the season, and they were the only JFL team that champions Nagano Parceiro failed to beat this term.
Who are the players to look out for?
Winger/forward Ryosuke Kijima is where a lot of their good stuff comes from. Whether running at opposition full backs or drifting in to finish off moves, Kijima has a knack for being where the action is. He scored 15 goals this year, easily pacing the Kamatamare team. During the season, Sanuki suffered a multitude of injuries to attacking players, forcing them to bring in replacements. One of these replacements, Yutaka Takahashi, has helped filled the void. The on-loan Ehime FC player has chipped in seven goals since his move. Defender Ryota Noguchi has sweet left foot, and his set piece deliveries will test the fragile Tottori defence.
Another player to watch will be Kohei Fujita. The midfielder/defender was seriously injured in a pre-season game against Tokyo Verdy and it was feared that he would be lost for the season, maybe longer. If he plays, it will be a feel-good story for Sanuki.
How do they play?
Only having seen them a few times this year, it is difficult to make an accurate prognosis. However, they seem to prefer direct style of play as opposed to a smooth, deliberate passing build up. The strengths for Kama are their speed & build. Big players like Kijima, Nishino & Andrea thrive on the physical aspect of the game. This is something Gainare will have to watch out for.
This game is going to be a huge test for Sanuki. They’ve already played J2 opposition this in the form of JEF United, and were comprehensively beaten 5-1. That game however, was in the midst of their mid-season injury crisis and should be taken as representative. Of course Gainare have some good players; they can call on Yuichi Kubo, Genki Nagasato & Dudu, but the club itself is in huge internal strife, bordering on all out warfare between fans, coaches and the board. This is the time to seize the initiative, and Kamatamare are well capable of doing that.
The game kicks-off on Sunday December 1st, at 1pm.