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Thursday, March 1, 2007

J. LEAGUE 2007


Ventforet Kofu

Staff writer

Last season: 15th

Manager: Takeshi Oki

Prospects: Fighting for their J1 lives

One to watch: Ken Fujita, a Kofu stalwart who is a stylish playmaker.

Kofu managed to survive its first-ever season in the top flight, and the minnow of the J. League is going to have a tough time of it again this year.

The big blow, obviously, is losing star striker Bare to Gamba Osaka. He scored 14 of the team's paltry 42 goals last season.

What needs to be remembered, though, is that Ventforet finished 15 points above the relegation zone, comfortably avoiding getting involved in a prolonged relegation battle.

They have been busy during the winter with lots of players arriving, defenders Kentaro Suzuki and Tatsuya Masushima to name two, but there have been no real quality additions.

Likable manager Oki, though, has a keen footballing brain, though, and manages to coax some Herculean performances out of his players. If they go down, they'll go down fighting.

See related stories:
Osim Jr. feels the pressure
Captain Sato wants 3rd cup triumph
S-Pulse's Fujimoto eyes national team
Manager Oliveira places faith in forwards
Vissel Kobe coach Matsuda welcomes changing of the guard
German Osieck embraces Reds challenge
Sef tips Grampus young guns

Urawa Reds Kawasaki Frontale Gamba Osaka
Shimizu S-Pulse Jubilo Iwata Kashima Antlers
Nagoya Grampus Eight Oita Trinita Yokohama F. Marinos
Sanfrecce Hiroshima JEF United Chiba Omiya Ardija
FC Tokyo Albirex Niigata Ventforet Kofu
Yokohama FC Kashiwa Reysol Vissel Kobe

J. League Schedule J. League Soccer

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