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Thursday, March 1, 2007
J. LEAGUE 2007
TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS
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.