It is that time of year, the time when the awards are given out. In what has been, shall we say, an interesting year at FC Gifu there have been a few players that have had good seasons. Here are my contenders for POTY 2014:
Gifu’s silky smooth midfield leader, Takachi has had a career year this year and has thrived in the advanced role he has been asked to play. Scorer of 7 goals, and creator of more, Takachi has been the creative force in Gifu’s midfield. He is Gifu’s de-facto outfield captain and almost the personification of his coach on the pitch.
Naza came into this league an unknown, but after 16 (so far) league goals, he is one of the most feared strikers in the division. A combination of pace, power and aggression the performance I remember this year is the game against Fagiano Okayama at home. He single-handedly brought Gifu back in to the game after being 2-0 down. I would be surprised if he is with Gifu next year as I think that some J1 and foreign sides will be looking at him.
Another player who has had a career year in Gifu this year. Namba is undoubtedly the fans’ favourite and his post game performances in front of the Vamos zone are stuff of legend. His on pitch performance has been better than expected too – scoring 11 goals and forming a string partnership with Nazarit. His workrate is exceptional and his presence around the club gives everyone a lift.
Despite not playing in every game, whenever Masuyama steps on the field he is invariably one of Gifu’s best players. He has been used in a number of positions in his FC Gifu career, but has found himself in a right back/wing back position and his fitness & energy have made him really good there. His delivery is one of the most underrated weapons Gifu have, as in my view he is one of the best crossers of the ball in the league. The pace & accuracy of those deliveries create plenty of chances for the team. All in all, a vastly under-appreciated player.
The youngster has burst on to the scene this year after starring FC Gifu Second last year in the Tokai regional league. A forward that looks good cutting in from the left wing, he has pace and skills that worry defenders. He scored his first ever J.League goal in Sapporo has shown glimpses that he could be in for big things in his future.
It might look a bit strange to have the goalkeeper in this discussion when the defence hasn’t played as well as one would have hoped. But Yoshi has been good, and his presence around the club has lifted everyone. Despite his credentials as a bona-fide Japanese football legend, he is humble, polite and treats everyone with respect. His role in increasing awareness of the club in the local area and beyond cannot be underestimated.
So, who do you think is the player of the year?