So, it is almost time for the talking to stop and for the football to begin. Gifu host newly promoted Kamatamare Sanuki on Sunday afternoon.
This will be the first competitive game for Ruy Ramos as Gifu manager, and also the first time they have played any game at home, so interest is expected to be high. With the exception of Yuki Fukaya, Gifu are expected to have a full squad to choose from. Stipe Plazibat has seemingly recovered from his hand injury and is in no danger of missing this game. It will be fascinating to see how the home team lines up: do new foreign players Henik & Nazarit start? What about the two young players that came up from FC Gifu Second – Tanaka & Endo? How many players will actually make their competitive debut? Ramos has been known to favour a four at the back model, but further forward it will be interesting to see how he sets the team up (will he go two up top? One up, one off? One up, two off?)
Kamatamare boss Kitano usually favours a 4-4-2 or sometimes 4-3-3 formation. Yutaka Takahashi will presumably start as striker with Ryosuke Kijima & Andrea supporting from the wings. Kamatamare won’t be star-struck because they have plenty of experience within their ranks, including captain Kijima & hard man Nishino, while Kitano has been around the block a few times and he will have spent many days/hours preparing for this match.
The weather looks like it will be pretty ropey with showers forecasted throughout the game, but hopefully that will do nothing to dampen the atmosphere at the stadium. The fans will be in full voice, and their is a weight of expectation amongst them. Let’s get this season started!
- Venue: Gifu Memorial Centre Nagaragawa
- KO time: 1pm
- TV: Live on Skapa channel 802, delayed transmission on Gifu-chan at 7pm