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Friday, March 2, 2007
J. LEAGUE 2007
TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS
Yokohama F. Marinos
Last season: 9th
Manager: Hiroshi Hayano
Prospects: Mid-table mediocrity
One to watch: Takayuki Suzuki, just to see how long it takes him to score
What were the suits at Marinos thinking when they hired former coach Hayano? You can just imagine a group of doddery old Nissan executives with no ambition and miserly with the cash plumping for Hayano simply because it was the easy choice. The coach has a disastrous track record since leaving Yokohama over 10 years ago, going on to underachieve at Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol.
The suits are keeping their fingers crossed that Hayano can repeat his success of 1995, when he led the team to its first league title.
Helping him will be Takashi Mizunuma as assistant coach, who took charge temporarily after Takeshi Okada quit last August.
There are no inspiring signings to divert attention away from the boardroom bungling that brought in Hayano. Misfiring striker and past-it ex-national team player Suzuki arrived from Red Star Belgrade to replace misfiring striker and past-it ex-national team player Tatsuhiko Kubo, who left for Yokohama FC.
Midfielder Daisuke Oku also crossed town to the other Yokohama club, while the only glimmer of hope is the signing of forward Marcus de Morais, who did well at Tokyo Verdy.
Where could it all go wrong? The more difficult question is, where could it all go right?