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Friday, March 2, 2007
J. LEAGUE 2007
TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS
Last season: 8th
Manager: Pericles Chamusca (Brazil)
Prospects: Flirting with relegation
One to watch: Daiki Takamatsu, not afraid to put him self about but needs to up his strike rate.
Chamusca has something of a Midas touch. Last year's eighth-place finish, ahead of some big names, was a brilliant showing, but it will be tough to repeat such feats this year as those bigger clubs get their houses in order.
It doesn't help that youngster Tsukasa Umesaki jumped ship, heading to the heady heights of the French second division with Japanese-owned Grenoble on a one-year loan. Remember Masashi Oguro doing similar? And where is he now? Exactly.
Stylish midfielder Masashi Miyazawa has been drafted in from FC Tokyo to fill the void, while an assortment of Brazilians have been shipped in, including forward Serginho from Corinthians and defender Bratini from Uniao San Juan.
Serginho's career includes a spell with Porto in Portugal, where he scored six goals in 10 games.
Midfielder Tulio has gone back to Brazil with Botofogo, while midfielder Edmilson and forward Rafael have been released.
Goals are going to be a problem. Takamatsu is a handful for any defense and scored 12 last season, while Shota Matsuhashi notched 10. Beyond those two, though, it's tough to see where the goals will come from, unless one of the Brazilian imports proves lethal.
It looks as though Chamusca may find it too tough a task to keep Oita buoyant this year. They may not go down, but it will be a close call.