Last week, the draw was made for the 2015 Emperor’s Cup (天皇杯 in Japanese).
FC Gifu, as a J.League team, enter at the first round proper stage and will play against the winners of the Hyogo prefecture amateur tournament.
Each prefecture holds a competition for its non-professional teams, and the winners get the prize of playing in that year’s Emperor’s Cup. A recent list of Hyogo prefecture winners looks like:
- 2014 – Kwansei Gakuin University
- 2013 – Kwansei Gakuin University
- 2012 – Kwansei Gakuin University
So, the smart money would be on Gifu facing Kwansei Gakuin in the first round. And Kwansei are no mugs – last year they beat JFL side Tochigi Uva in the first round round, before then seeing off J1 side Vissel Kobe in the next. They ultimately fell against another J1 side in Ventforet Kofu, but they showed they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Of course, Gifu holds its own competition in the prefecture. This year, Gifu’s winners will travel to J2 side ThespaKusatsu Gunma.
* You can find the schedule (in Japanese) here