FC Gifu are in full squad trimming mode, and that means that a lot of popular players have been told their services are no longer required. In this post, I’ll go through the (probably unfinished) list of players that have left the club, and what I’ll remember them for. Part two will come in a couple of days time….

 

Keiji Takachi

One of my favourite players in my time watching Gifu. Looks lazy at times, but is anything but. His left foot is one of the best I’ve ever seen in person and he combined skill, vision & effort. In his debut season, he scored seven goals from midfield and his passing was one of the main reasons why the Nazarit & Namba partnership went so well.

What I’ll remember

His goal against Kataller Toyama in 2014. Took two defenders out with a superb turn, took another one out with his quick feet and coolly finished past the goalkeeper. Keiji Takachi summed up in 10 seconds.

 

Shun Nogaito

Mr. Gifu. Been at the club for eight years and amassed over 200 appearances. A real utility player, I’ve seen him play every position except goalkeeper – which he would do if asked of him. It seems like a cliche, but he really was the selfless team player who did what was asked of him, whatever the circumstances.

What I’ll remember

Playing Shun Nogaito bingo – as in guessing the correct minute when he attempts a shot from 35 yards out.

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Naoya Okane

Big, tall and looks like Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen. Took a while for him to settle in Gifu, but became a firm favourite with the fans. Sent off in his last game for bringing down an opposition player, even though we were 4-2 up at the time and already safe. For the team. That’s who Okane was.

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What I’ll remember

Always smiling with hands behind his back when complaining to the referee.

 

Junki Endo

A Gifu boy, hopes were high when he burst on the scene. A mixture of pace & trickery, I actually felt he was too much of an inbetweener – not really a striker, but not really a forward. Maybe one of those hybrids that starts on the left and drifts inside when he gets the ball. Potential is there, but needs to be played in the right system.

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What I’ll remember

His goal in Kumamoto. Great finish and jumped the advertizing hoardings to celebrate with the fans. Great moment.

 

Leonardo Rocha

A skillful midfielder with a brilliant left foot, Rocha didn’t really find a place the suited him in Gifu’s line up. More of an “off the front” player than a typical midfielder, Gifu’s season long battle against relegation didn’t really allow for a luxury player like Rocha. Hopefully, wherever he goes next will afford him that privilege.

What I’ll remember

This goal, direct from a corner, against Ehime FC. It was the last kick of the game, and secured a crucial win. Obrigado!

 

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