The readers of this blog agreed with the majority of FC Gifu supporters as both sets of voters chose midfielder Keiji Takachi as the 2014 player of the year.
For the official prize, he received a cool ¥1,000,000. From me, well…I can’t afford that from this NPO, but I can offer my respect and admiration.
Some eyebrows were raised when he was brought in, including mine. I didn’t know much about him aside from the fact he was left footed and played usually in a left midfield role for Yokohama FC. Given that we already had Atsushi Mio, I presumed was going to play that role, I wondered why we had brought Takachi in.
It became clear in the first two games why. Takachi was superb in the opening games, providing a link between the midfield and new attack pairing of Naza & Namba. He capped off this impressive introduction with what is commonly known as a “Golazzo” against Kataller Toyama – receiving the ball 40 yards out from goal he performed a drag-back which completely took two defenders out of the equation before slaloming into the box and coolly passing the ball past the keeper.
Since that start, he has embedded himself in the team, and is almost the first name on the teamsheet when fit. He is the de-facto outfield captain when Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and I get the feeling that he is Ramos’ kind of player. An attack-mided player with a keen eye for a pass/through-ball, Takachi has been a beacon of consistency.
The softly spoken, thoughtful playmaker has thoroughly deserved this accolade and hopefully he stays around for next year to deliver an encore performance.