Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One man enters, five men leave

As if the excitement of the last leg of the title chase isn't enough, news now comes in that the doors to the Todoroki dressing rooms have already started revolving.

The biggest news is that Takashi Sekizuka - the man who steered Frontale from J2 obscurity to the ACL quarter finals - is officially to resume control of the team as of next season. Tsutomu Takahata will revert to his former role as assistant coach.

Sekizuka was forced to quit as coach in April 2008 for health reasons, but it seems the door has always been left open for him should he wish to return. And after a season of rest and recuperation he's now decided there's unfinished business to attend to.

When he does return, however, he'll have 5 fewer faces to choose from as it's also been announced that contracts will not be renewed for the following players:

FW Kazuki Ganaha
MF Masahiro Ohashi
MF Taku Harada
MF Tatsuya Suzuki
FW Ken Tokura

Ganaha's had a torrid couple of seasons. First there was the year out due to "garlic-gate". Then, just as he's starting to regain some form, Renatinho arrives on the scene. Still, he's proven his quality in the past and will be a good signing for a team that can make the most of his abilities.

Ohashi's another player who'll benefit from finding a club that can give him more first team opportunities. Like Ganaha, Ohashi suffered from the mid-season signings. Before Vitor Junior's arrival, he was threatening to cement a place in the starting eleven. Ever since, he's been glued to the bench with the occasional 5 mintes here and there.

I haven't seen enough of the other 3 to make any meaningful comment, but thanks and good luck to them all.


GJB said...

Well, quite a season indeed so far. Looking forward to seeing Sekizuka back, as while I think Takahata has done an admirable job as caretaker, particularly given his relative youth, I feel his inexperience has shown at times. Loathe though I am to sound like a terrace manager - there have been moments that left me howling 'what?!?' at the dugout or TV. The subbing of Vitor on a couple of occasions when I thought he was by far Frontale's most effective player, spring to mind. There were also a few games this season when the connection between the midfield and forwards was almost non-existent. Having said that, they've played some really free-flowing attacking football this year, and hats off to that.

My heart really does go out to Ganaha. He went from the verge of establishing himself in the national side to a ban, and then the club reserves; over a vitamin injection. Wish him all the luck.

Talking of player movements, still think they could strengthen the defence for next season. And what about Mori? Is this man a defender, winger, wingback? I see him down as DF on the team sheets etc but surely Vitor does more tackling-back than he does! He does make some great attacking runs but the team also concede a lot of goals down that right flank which he may or may not be supposed to cover.

Enough of my terrace manager ranting. Good luck to the lads on Saturday; going to be a tough one with Verdy battling for their J1 survival. Here's looking forward to next year with ACL football at Todoroki.

manyar said...

Well that just about covers everything I was going to say in my end of season summary! And I couldn't agree with you more.

I think Takahata's done fantastically to galvanise things when you look back to the miserable catalogue of events at the start of the year. Naive decisions were to be expected, but without that inexperience I don't think we'd have seen some of the outrageous, seat-of-the-pants football that's kept us all so entertained.

That said, if they're going to progress from here, they definitely need a more seasoned campaigner holding the reins. And Sekizuka's certainly got some tough decisions to make over the coming months, mostly concerning the defence.

For starters I'm not a fan of the three at the back with Mori and Yamagishi as wing-backs. Like you say, if you're going to set up like that you need wide men who are energetic and competent enough to shoulder their defensive responsibility. Most of Mori's energy seems to go into his jaw (is he sponsored by Wrigley's?).

I'd much prefer a flat back four (made up of actual defenders) but then you wonder where Mori and Yamagishi are going to fit in. I do still think they've got something to offer, just further up the field.

I also wonder if they might be wise to bring in a specialist defensive midfield player to offer a bit more protection. They've tried Kikuchi a couple of times in that role, but I've not been particularly impressed. Then again if they do bring someone in there, which of the more attack-minded players will have to be dropped?

Decisions, decisions. Much better to be a terrace manager than the real thing!

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