The end of the season is a time when, as is usual for J.League clubs, teams release a large number of players, and bring in ones that boards & managers hope will propel teams forward.
In this first part, I’ll take a look at the major in for the club – the new manager Takeshi Oki. Part two will look at the goodbyes – and boy, are there plenty of them….
Welcome to the new manager!
*above picture from fc-gifu.com
The decision to part with Megumu Yoshida came as a surprise to me. I’m not too sure of the internal talks that took place, so I’m not sure whose decision it was. If it was Yoshida’s then he leaves with his reputation in tact and if it was the club’s then I’m curious as to what the reasoning was.
In any event, there was only really ever one candidate. Names like Motohiro Yamaguchi & Naohiko Minobe were mentioned, but the club set their sights on Takeshi Oki and after a few days of negotiation he eventually signed on the bottom line.
Who is he?
Whilst Oki isn’t a particularly big name, his reputation is quite good. His resume includes:
- Shimizu S-Pulse manager
- Ventforet Kofu manager
- Kyoto Sanga manager
- Japan coach
This last year he was working as an adviser at FC Imabari, the Shikoku regional league team owned by ex-Japanese national team coach Takeshi Okada – and the team which won the regional league championship to progress to the JFL – as well as being a supervisor at Bunnys Kyoto, a Nadeshiko challenge league team.
Oki on duty with Japan in South Africa, 2010
To go on his last managerial experience in the J.League, he was Kyoto Sanga manager between 2011-2013. During that time his league finishes were:
- 2011 – 7th
- 2012 – 3rd
- 2013 – 3rd
In 2012, Oki’s Sanga were beaten 0-4 at home by Oita Trinita in the J2 play-off semi final (a huge surprise considering Oita finished 6th that year). In 2013, his side went one better by reaching the final, only to be beaten by Tokushima Vortis. He left after that game, and just to put it in perspective, Kyoto have finished 9th, 17th & 5th in the years since Oki left, and have gone through four different managers in the intervening three years.
Oki & Takeshi Okada pictured at a pre-season training camp
Looking back at his teams at Nishikyogoku, it is clear that he had some talented players at his disposal. Yuya Kubo, Atsutaka Nakamura, Takumi Miyayoshi, Yoshiaki Komai, Shigeru Yokotani, to name but a few who have moved on to bigger & brighter things. His teams had no trouble scoring goals in his time in Kyoto, finishing 2nd and 4th in goals scored in 2012 & 2013 respectively.
According to stats site Football Lab, Oki’s Kyoto fluctuated between a plain 4-4-2 & 4-2-3-1 formations during his time there, so look for any additions to the squad to be those comfortable in these lineups. One would think that Koya Kazama, Leo Mineiro & Junichi Paulo Tanaka would be ideal fits in either formation for Oki, so hopefully they are kept on. As for other reinforcements, I’d be interested to see who Oki has in mind, although one thing that has piqued my interest is the news coming out of Kyoto that several decent players will leave the club, including Koji Yamase & Koki Arita, and there is also the spectre of Kazuki Hara. He has yet to re-sign with relegated Giravanz Kitakyushu and I wonder if Oki will try and make a move for him.
For supporters, the off season is a time to relax. For Takeshi Oki, his work is just beginning. Good luck Coach!