FC Gifu have stated that the team is aiming to end 10th or above in their second season in the J2. While I don't think this is impossible, this will definitely be a tough ask, especially with such a young team. But while remaining quietly optimistic, realistically, a finish above 17th will be seen as a good one for the team considering the amount of player changes and experience lost.
No doubt about it, this is a rebuilding year for Gifu. The biggest goal will this year be to develop the young team, avoiding injury, and providing a platform for these young stars to get out and perform in the years to come.
Their buildup to 2009 has been pretty good, recording training match wins over Kyoto and Kawasaki to name a few, although the question will come when these young players have to play in front of big crowds and raudy fans, as we saw against Nagoya Grampus last week. It's a different ball-game, and they'll have to get used to the added pressure.
Immediate team goals for 2009:
Beat the three new teams, Okayama, Tochigi, and Kataller. Especially Toyama, as Gifu has never beaten them.
Score goals against Cerezo Osaka and Ehime FC. They have yet to do so.
Beat Sapporo, Tokyo, Sendai, Osaka, Shonan, Kofu, Kusatsu and Ehime. They have yet to do so.
Keep their unbeaten record against Tokushima, Kumamoto, Toyama and Okayama.
Win more then three games at home!!!
As far as FC Gifu as a company is concerned, gaining financial sponsorship is top on the list. Gifu is the only team in the J1 and 2 without a main shirt sponsor. Beg beg beg! Do what you have to do! This team deserves a sponsor too!!
Also avoiding more debt whilst paying off debt is well... if Gifu want to be around next year... of the utmost importance!
I don't expect crowd figures to rise and if anything probably drop a bit. A lack of star players and a LONG LONG season should see numbers drop a bit, but the main thing is that management realise this and take the appropriate financial measures to keep the team afloat! As mentioned before, I few more home wins might also give the attendance figures a bit of a boost too!
Anyway here's my prediction for the 2009 end of season table. Gotta be realsitic here (as far as Gifu is concerned!)
1. Sendai 2. Osaka 3. Kofu 4. Shonan 5. Tokyo 6. Sapporo 7. Fukuoka 8. Tosu 9. Kusatsu 10. Mito 11. Yokohama 12. Kumamoto 13. Tokushima 14. Ehime 15. Toyama 16. Tochigi 17. Gifu 18. Okayama
Should be a good season anyway! To my friends and foes, see you at the stadiums throughout Japan!! ...and Ganbare FC Gifu!!!