Archive for December 2011

5 Youngsters and Kazuki sign.   Leave a comment

Monday has come and gone and 6 more players have been announced as being at the club next year.

After the initial statement of intent was made in getting Jogo signed up straight away, all of these signings are probably the cheapest at the club to get sorted being the youngsters and Kazuki (who is still pretty young I’m surprised to find out).

Kazuki Yamaguchi.

He is a local boy who came to Avispa from Fukuoka University a couple of years ago and not made many appearances since then.

Always comes across as a really nice guy, and can be relied upon to give 100% in every game.
He isn’t the most classy defender in the world, but he seems to know that and throws himself into blocks and tackles and doesn’t try to be too clever.

Probably wouldn’t have expected to get so many first team starts in J1, but acquitted himself quite well in my opinion. Big season coming up in J2 to try to make himself a 1st choice defender.

Masato Yoshihara

I really want this guy to come good. He has been overtaken by Ushinohama as the brightest young talent at the club, but I think that given the chance Masato can be a 20 goal a season striker.

Tall but better on the floor, in a similar way to Mike Havenaar, if he got a couple of goals in the first month then he could be the man we have been looking for.

Don’t play him on the wings, give him a chance and he will score.

Eita Kasagawa.

Goal-keeper must be the hardest position to be a young player coming through as you will never get 10 minutes at the end of a game to prove yourself, and Eita is behind 2 half-decent keepers in Kamiyama and Rokutan.

Not good enough to jump above them next season, he has done nothing wrong and will be on the bench next season if one of those two decides to try and move to get first team football.

Doesn’t seem crazy enough to be a goal-keeper. I’ve wondered if he reads this blog as it is a name which gets searched for pretty regularly.

Son Ryun Jyon.

I was expecting big things from him this year as he looked like a decent player in the Emperors’s Cup, but then he never appeared.

Glad that he has a new contract, but he has to get onto the first team bench this season.
Maybe being held back by his versatility. I’ve seen him listed as a midfielder and a defender, it sounds good as a guy who is a natural footballer, but he needs to start being seen as a specific position soon.

Tokio Hatamoto.

Only seen him once, during the charity match with Oita, but he looked calm and composed in that game despite being only 18. A new Makoto Tanaka rather than a new Kazuki Yamaguchi.

Is very highly rated having been called up for Japan U-16, U-17 and U-18 National Teams, but defenders tend to take a long time to mature so it is unlikely he will get much more than bench appearances next season.

A really good prospect and someone we should be giving opportunities to taste the first team as often as possible.

Taku Ushinohama.

Definitely has the physique of a 19 year old, but can hopefully maintain his elusive running and speed while getting a little bigger.

The new huge talent at the club having got 4 appearances in the first team in J1, and managing to score 2 goals of very high quality in the process.

Performed one of the highlights of the season by skinning an Oita player in the early season charity match which showed he had some confidence before scoring against Yamagata.

Big things will be expected of him next season, and while I think Masato and Son might turn out to be better players in 2012, Ushinohama could be the best of the lot long-term.

Not happy to have Masato out on the wing, but with the current signed players we can line up…




??????????…….Yamaguchi…..Hatamoto……O Chan Hyon


Posted December 19, 2011 by avispafukuoka in News

Jogo Signs   Leave a comment

The club have announced the first confirmed contract for next season with Hisashi Jogo signed for 2012.
It isn’t a surprise as he is a local boy who has spent his whole career at Avispa, but he is a much admired player who would have had no problem finding a different club if he wanted to.

I am quite often negative about Jogo on this website, but that isn’t because I think he is a bad player; I think that he is the best player at Avispa Fukuoka.

The frustration comes that while he has the technique, vision and poise to be a top J1 player he can end up drifting out of games and handicap Avispa by playing with no striker at times.

The position he plays is the most important aspect of this as he is usually in the team as the striker in a 4231, but often drifts wide or collects balls deep which means that there is no-one in the box for him to play to ending our attacks.
I really want him to play as a support striker; as the central play of the 3 in a 4231, or as a secondary striker in a 442 or 4411. This would allow him to try and break as he currently does, but also means there should be a presence in the box if he has gone wide.
Barcelona are the only team in the world who successfully play with no striker, and while it might be admirable to ape Barcelona it is also a near impossible task.

In a more general sense Jogo also needs to start attacking the ball rather than anticipating to run onto balls. At J1 level we saw that time and again Central defenders were coming onto the ball and clearing it while Jogo ran on behind them. At the top level defenders are very rarely going to miss clearances, so Jogo cannot base his game on hoping that the ball will reach him and must go to meet it.

Possible team for 2012 (confirmed players!)….




??????????…….???????????…..????????????……O Chan Hyon


Posted December 17, 2011 by avispafukuoka in News

Forwards 2011 Assessment   Leave a comment

Yutaka Takahashi = C-
Showed that he is exactly the type of goal-scorer we need at times, but needs to be 10 years younger with the chance to get 10% better. As it is he was a J2 standard striker having one last hurrah in J1 at the end of his career. Didn’t do badly, but was never going to be what we needed.

Hisashi Jogo = D+
A conundrum. At times he was our best player, possibly one of the best forwards in the League, at other times he drifted out of games and offered no threat to the opposition. Seems to model his game on a Messi role, when as our furthest forward striker he should be looking at van Persie. Don’t drift out wide when there is no-one in the box, attack the ball rather than hope for mistakes, play off shoulders instead of coming deep.

Yusuke Tanaka = B+
Strange to be listing him as a forward (taking this from the homepage) as he looks to have re-invented himself as a right-back. Outstanding in this position at the end of the season where his natural width offers attacks with the midfield 5 playing narrower to compliment Kim Min Je on the other side. Knows what a winger wants, plays quick, direct balls and has energy to spare.

Hideya Okamoto = B-
Top scorer for the season, and scored some great goals along the way. Would score for anybody due to his willingness to shoot and competence at it, but offers little beyond this. When we were getting over-whelmed in midfield we needed someone who could get back and help out but he was more often lingering around waiting to collect a ball to try and score another goal from the edge of the box.

Masato Yoshihara = C-
Can only play when he is allowed to, but should have got more games this season. Did ok when he came on, but needs to be a regular next season if he is going to make it. Ushinohama has overtaken him as the club brightest young talent.

Kentaro Shigematsu = B+
Had a spell in the middle of the season when he was our best player by some distance, but wasn’t getting games despite this. A young player he seemed to fade out a bit towards the end of the season, and maybe this was why he didn’t get more games earlier. Happy to shoot at goal from anywhere, and with a bit of bite to his game. Needs to realise his ‘defending’ is one of the best parts of his game and keep running. A little greedy with shots at times.

Daisuke Ishizu = B-
Good season with the University team, nowhere near the Avispa team despite us really needing an out and out striker. Signed for next year, and I’m interested to see his standard.

Ramazotti = D+
Caused all sorts of problems when he played, and got a goal which he clearly really enjoyed, but after coming in August it took 2 months before he was ready to play. Rumoured to have cost the club 40m yen all told, he managed 4 substitute appearances. Could have been awesome in J2, and I think he should have done everything he could to play and make a name for himself to attract the attention of a big club in the summer or following season.

Posted December 15, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Midfielders 2011 Assessment   Leave a comment

Kosuke Nakamachi = D+
Had some decent performances, but if we were ever going to stay up last year he needed to be a Star Player. Made Captain for the start of the season the rest of the team could have been pulled together by a central midfielder giving a J1 performance. Came far short on too many occasions and ended the season on the bench.

Suzuki Jun = B-
Wasn’t the greatest player in the League but made a huge step up from last season and didn’t look totally out of place. A substitute in J2 he played over half the games this year and looked a better young midfielder than last year’s Rookie of the Year Sueyoshi. I’d like to see him consider himself a defensive midfielder and work on his tackling as he doesn’t have the dynamism to go box-to-box.

Takuya Matsuura = B
Made a very good decision in coming to Avispa for a year, even if it ended up with relegation. The minutes on the pitch have developed his game, and by the end of the season was our best midfielder. Likes to play inside rather than as a traditional winger, so was much better with a full-back who gets beyond him. Can try to do too much at times, and probably needs to be a bit more cynical about fouls in the box. Hope he stays.

Sho Naruoka = D+
Didn’t do too badly, but was brought to the club to be one of the men to keep us up. Failed to do this, and didn’t really justify the “It’s Show-time” announcement when his name was called. Often he was guilty of over-complicating things, and while sometimes he was ‘too good’ for his team-mates it is up to him to realise he is in a relegation scrap not playing for Barcelona.

Norihisa Shimizu = D-
Another player who wasn’t terrible, but came to the club as an established J1 player who was presumably on a decent salary and never did anything to justify coming to the club in the first place. His legs are gone, and leaving the club was the right decision.

Toshiya Sueyoshi = C
At the end of last season I said he had a lot more to do, and that I hoped he didn’t think that as J2 Rookie of the Year he was the finished article. I’m not convinced he is any better now than he was a year ago. Needs to decide what sort of player he is. I thought he was a defensive midfielder, but he doesn’t ever seem to tackle. Needs to impose himself onto games and pick up yellow cards for tackling rather than pulling players back.

Son Jeong Ryun = D
Still young, but while guys like Ushinohama have come in and got J1 experience he hasn’t been anywhere near the squad. Don7T know if he has been injured, but should be stepping up soon.

Taku Ushinohama = A
A real highlight of the season. Looked good in a charity game, and then got game time in the first team. Asked for the ball against J1 opposition and took 2 great goals in the win against Montedio Yamagata when he was given a chance. Can’t really ask for much more from an 18 year old academy player and he will be the name on lots of supporters lips next season.

Posted December 15, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Defenders 2011 assessment   Leave a comment

Kim Min Je = B-
The brightest spark for me this season, his stamina down the wings and willingness to attack could make the 4231 formation work as he offers natural width while our wingers like to play inside.
Lost his place due to some poor positioning when defending, and this is definitely something he needs to work on. A full season in J2 would be an excellent place to learn, and I really hope he stays.

Tatsunori Yamagata = C
Started the season in good form and was one of our better players; defending tenaciously and getting forward quite well. His game is based almost entirely on stamina, and by the end of the season this seemed to have gone. I don’t know if it was from being tired, or from giving up, but it reached a point when he was dropped from the team and was among the earliest to be announced to be leaving the club after 200 games.

Takumi Wada = C-
There must be a reason why this guy has been relegated so many times in his career. Came in at left-back half-way through the season and was terrible. Got better with more games, and looked pretty decent at times, but should probably start looking for a solid J2 career rather than continual relegations and failed promotion campaigns.

Daiki Niwa = C- Had a difficult job being at the back of a struggling team and with a different defensive partner every couple of weeks, but did alright for most of the season. Needed to be a star player this season and against Gamba Osaka he was, unfortunately it didn’t happen often enough. Bullied off the ball too many times.

Makato Tanaka = D
Collecting 40m yen a season he didn’t really prove his worth. Was always going to be his last season, but it pretty much ended when returning to old team Jubilo Iwata and getting totally destroyed. Came back late in the season for a couple of farewell matches, but thankfully he has realised it is time to retire gracefully.

Shogo Kobara = C+
Took a while to get his first game, but then when he did he was much better than I was expecting. With a settled centre-back partner he might be good enough for a low level J1 team. He didn’t get a settled partner, and was caught out on positioning several times. Will hopefully stay next year and get someone to play 85% of games alongside him.

Kazuki Yamaguchi = C-
Hard to be too tough on him because he has never gone hiding, and seems to know his limitations as a player. When used as a blocker to throw himself into last ditch tackles he is pretty good. When used as a more cultured defender needed to work to a shape and pass the ball around he is being asked to do stuff he can’t do.

Yosuke Miyaji = D-
Didn’t really look good enough in any of the short opportunities he was given this year. He isn’t young any more, and you have to think about how much better he will ever get. Maybe he could do a decent back-up job in J2 if he is cheap, but won’t offer any long-term solution at J1/top J2 level.

Tokio Hatamoto = C
A game on the bench and regular outings for the reserves. Defenders take a little longer to mature so I wouldn’t expect him in the first team this year, but should be trying to get substitute appearances next season. Looked composed in the one chance I saw him in a friendly.

Posted December 13, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Goalkeeper 2011 assessment   Leave a comment

Kamiyama – C-
He won’t have been happy about losing his spot mid-way through the season, and being seen as a bit of a joke by supporters of other clubs but after a few terrible mistakes he deserved to lose his spot.
Still the best shot-stopping keeper at the club, and capable of some world-class saves at times, but also prone to awful blunders. Blunders at J1 level mean you end up losing points, while at J2 they meant that Avispa might win 3-1 instead of 3-0.
Most important attribute for a keeper is consistency, and that is one thing Kamiyama doesn’t have. Much like Heurelho Gomez at Tottenham he might end up being out of the 1st team despite being the better keeper because the defence can’t trust him.
Aside from his concentration he has to be more commanding at crosses.

Rokutan – C+
Got given a chance mid-way through the season and while he wasn’t outstanding he did enough to keep his spot. Rarely makes great saves, but also doesn’t make too many mistakes. I’d keep him as a decent and reliable back-up keeper but I think he is going to want to be 1st choice keeper for a club somewhere.
Has a bit of a suspect temperament, and isn’t ever going to be much more than average.

Kasagawa – C
A young keeper he had a couple of games on the bench, and a couple of games in the Emperor’s Cup. If Rokutan or Kamiyama end up losing he will be a reliable bench player, but hard to say much more than that at the moment.

Posted December 12, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Player ratings 2011   Leave a comment

Having played all the matches for the season, and given scores for each match I have watched I can now make an average score for the season.

Last year the Avispa Eigo Player of the Season was Nakamachi, with Jumbo being worst performer. I’ll add a Young PLayer of the Season this year too.

Kamiyama – 5.9
Kim Min Je – 6.8 Player of the Year
Tatsunori – 6.1
Wada – 5.9
Makoto – 5.6
Daiki – 6.0
Nakamachi – 6.4
Suzuki Jun – 5.9
Yutaka – 5.6 Worst Performer
Jogo – 6.0
Yusuke – 6.3
Kobara – 6.3
Matsuura – 6.2
Hideya – 6.0
Yamaguchi – 6.0
Masato – 6.7 (only 3 sub appearances)
Naruoka – 5.8
Miyaji – 5.3 (only 4 sub appearances)
Shimizu – 5.8
Sueyoshi – 6.2
Rokutan – 6.4
Shigemastu – 6.4 Young Player of the Season
Ushinohama – 6.3
Ramazotti – 6.0

Player of the Season Kim Min Je
His defensive abilities are flawed, which is probably the reason why he lost his place to Takumi Wada in the middle of the season, but his willingness to run along with being the best crosser at the club makes him my Player of the Season.
I’d be interested to see how he does playing at left midfield.

Young Player of the Season Kentaro Shigematsu
Had a spell during the middle of the season where he was our best player. Bizarrely didn’t get starts at that time despite being the only person who looked like scoring.
Will almost certainly return to FC Tokyo and get more games from the bench next year. A shame as he needs time on the pitch more than anything at the moment.

Worst Performer Yutaka Takahashi
A close run thing between Makoto Tanaka and Yutaka. Makoto would have been an easy choice with his 40m yen salary, but he had a coulpe of great games at the end of the season.
Yutaka is on the pitch solely as a goal-scorer. He only got 2 all season and doesn’t do much else for the team except get goals.

Posted December 10, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

Koji Maeda appointed   Leave a comment

As mentioned by Steve in the comments section over a week ago the new manager of Avispa for next season is Koji Maeda.

There was the brief excitement that it could be Wagner Lopes, but it seems he may have been visiting friends in Hakata before accepting the Gamba job.

Koji Maeda does have a long history with Avispa having played for Fukuoka Blux in 1995, and then returning to the club from 2000-2001 when we were in J1. He played as a defender, which is probably a good thing as it is the area of the pitch which probably needs the most work in the coming months.

Since retiring as a player he hasn’t been hugely successful, but has served a bit of an apprenticeship having been player-coach at Volca Kagoshima, various coaching roles at Vissel Kobe, and most recently Head Coach back at Volca.

It’s a steady appointment rather than anything dramatic, and I am guessing than he is probably quite a bit cheaper than some of the other options floating around.

It comes on the same day that our Spanish/Portuguese speaking translator also leaves the club and as a domestic appointment may mean that we don’t see many South American imports for a while.

Posted December 7, 2011 by avispafukuoka in News

Ishizu in, Ramazotti out   Leave a comment

The Christmas season in Japan is the time of year when lots of players come and go from clubs. With the majority of players seeming to be on 1 year contracts it isn’t unusual to see a large number of players coming and going, the near total change of the Avispa first XI last December being a big factor in our eventual relegation.

It is already known that Makoto Tanaka, Tatsunori Yamagata and Ramazotti would be leaving the club, but Ramazotti’s departure was officially confirmed by the club and player today.

After scoring 1 goal in 4 games he wasn’t given much chance to show his worth, and took a long time to get started after arriving in August so when he did finally get to play we were pretty much already relegated anyway.

He made a comment on his exit which I’ll roughly translate as “I was there just a short time, but thank-you for your warm encouragement. I couldn’t score the goals to remain in J1, I’m very sorry. I sincerely hope to support Avispa Fukuoka in the future. Thank-you”

I hope he gets another club soon, and hope the reason he isn’t staying isn’t about money. As a tall striker who tries to put himself about he would have had the chance to emulate Hulk by scoring a hatful of goals in J2 and making a real name for himself, before moving on in a big transfer. Heading back to Brazil or to a European second division he now risks becoming a journey-man striker rather than the real star he could have been in J2. He isn’t the most mobile, or quickest, but in a league of shorter than average defenders could have done very well.

As one striker leaves another joins, or at least joins on full terms after being on the books as a Designated University player for 18 months, as Daisuke Ishizu joins from Fukuoka University. Almost the total opposite of Ramazotti he is a short, mobile striker who uses his pace against defences. He hasn’t had a chance to play for the first team yet, but is the style of free-scoring, out-and-out striker we have needed who can take chances with both feet.

I hope we can keep Yoshihara next season and build these two together as a little and large strike partnership who are the same age and work together.

A very rough translation of his comments on joining the club: “From a young age I have been dreaming of becoming a professional footballer, and am very pleased to be able to join a local club; Avispa Fukuoka. I aim to score a goal for the first team. Also, I’ll make a point of playing passionately as a forward. I give it the most effort I can, so thanks for your support”.

Posted December 6, 2011 by avispafukuoka in News

vs. Cerezo (ratings)   Leave a comment

Kamiyama – 5 Seems odd to be giving as high as 5 for a keeper who conceded 7 goals but bizarrely he wasn’t really to blame for any goal. He could have been a bit quicker for the early long shots, but didn’t have much chance really.

Kim Min Je – 4 Got an assist for the goal, but his defending is his weakest point. Got a great assist with an excellent cross, but also gave away a penalty and got totally out-foxed in the box for one of the goals. Left midfield please.

Tatsunori – 2 Terrible last match. 5 of the goals came from the right side of midfield where Tatsunori was leaving big gaps and missing runners. Don’t know where he is going next, but on this performance he won’t be missed.

Makoto – 3 Came back for a brief late season cameo but played a game too many. It’ll make retirement easy having been torn apart by kids today.

Yamaguchi – 3 An agricultural defender he will always have problems with movement and technique. J2 class, this match highlighted it.

Suzuki Jun – 3 Cannot play as part of a midfield 2. He doesn’t have the dynamism and will get isolated against teams playing with 3.

Nakamachi – 3 Not sure what the future holds for this guy. Today may have been his last game and it won’t be leaving on a high.

Matsuura – 4 Gave up in the 2nd half. If he was thinking about staying for another year with Avispa this may have changed his mind.

Hideya – 3 Playing against a strong midfield team the Trequartista striker must come back and help midfield. Getting a highlights reel of goals for youtube won’t help the club in the long run.

Naruoka – 3 His right-back was getting murdered, midfield needed bolstering, he didn’t seem to be on the pitch at times.

Jogo – 5 Fantastic finish for the goal. I’d like to see him pushed into the attacking midfielder/second striker role next season. Give him a year of running and learning when to drop and have a proper striker in the middle.

Shigematsu – 4 Looking to score goals for himself. Won’t be around next season.

Ushinohama – 4 Not really the sort of a game to throw a young kid into. He did no worse than anyone else, but it could kill some confidence.

Ramazotti – 4 Last time he’ll pull on an Avispa shirt. Needs a very specific type of ball. If they are not going to base a plan around him then it isn’t worth playing him as he needs a certain type of play.

Asano – 3 Thanks for the hard work. You’ve made strange choices throughout the season regarding players, and didn’t change a formation which wasn’t working, but carried yourself admirably throughout your time in charge.

Posted December 5, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion