For those outside of Japan, “Golden Week” is a group of national holidays starting on April 29th and runs until May 6th. During this period, the club has 3 very important games. I’ll do a brief preview of those games here:
- April 29th – FC Gifu v Thespa Kusatsu Gunma (KO 1pm)
- Last year – FC Gifu 0-0 Thespa Kusatsu Gunma
- One to watch: Daniel Lovinho. The Brazilian is a tough, physical forward with pace to trouble defenders. In the absence of talisman Hirashige, Gunma will look to Lovinho to spark their forward line.
- What we need: A win! In all seriousness, Gifu are playing well, but they really need some results to back up the performances. I expect Mizuno to come back in, and hopefully Nazarit will be back in the goals.
- May 3rd – Tokyo Verdy v FC Gifu (@Kokuritsu national stadium)
- Last year – Tokyo Verdy 3-0 FC Gifu
- This game will probably draw national attention due to the fact that Ruy Ramos is returning to the stadium and club where he became a hero.
- One to watch: Naoki Maeda. The young forward has started to show flashes of what people thought he was capable of. He has needed to as well, because Verdy are in a desperate financial situation and need their young players to come to the fore.
- What wee need: Energy. Verdy are, by neccessity, a young team. That means bundles of energy that need to be matched by us. Whether we rely on our veteran experience to help us, or whether we match their young players with our young players, we need to cover this.
- May 6th – FC Gifu v JEF United (KO 7pm)
- Last year – FC Gifu 0-1 JEF United
- One to watch: Ryousuke Yamanaka. The on-loan F.Marinos attacking midfielder sprung into the headlines when scored a beautiful 30 yarder against Fagiano Okayama. He isn’t afraid to shoot from anywhere and looks comfortable on either foot.
- What we need: A statement. JEF aren’t what they were. They often look like a team bereft of identity, but they have very good individual players (like Kempes, Hyodo, Yamaguchi etc). If Gifu can grab a win here it will be a big scalp and can hopefully propel us on to brighter days.
So there it is. 3 games in a week. Imagine what 3 wins would do for our confidence. Happy Golden Week to everyone, and if you can get yourself down to Nagaragawa stadium!