Well, with a week off coming up before a big game against Consadole, Verdy hit the practice ground against Yokohama FC and dropped one 3-1. Defender Kensuke Fukuda hit one late for Verdy after the blue bombers got 3 on the board.
HIROSHI CALLS IT QUITS
Jubilo midfielder Hiroshi Nanami announced his retirement after 313 games and 34 goals. Nanami had an uneventful 1 year stint in green for the promotion bound 2007 version of Verdy but will go down in J League lore for a stellar career at Jubilo (and a decent stint at Cerezo). Good luck to the man who liked his soccer and his smokes.
Why has the J League decided to intertwine the league competition with the Emperors Cup? This week the league announced that they were going to fine recently crowned Nabisco Cup champ Oita Trinita and relegation threat JEF Chiba for not fielding their "Best Members" in their losses to Sagan Tosu and Shimizu respectively. Why?
Seriously, both teams have much bigger things to worry about than Emperors Cup. Oita is close to seizing a league title after dropping to 14th last year. JEF meanwhile has scratched and clawed their way back into the mix for survival after a horrendous start. Both teams made decisions that playing full strength before crucial matches was not a great idea. And both came out with crucial points.
But the heavy-handedness and utter disregard for club autonomy is rearing it's ugly head. Do you seriously believe that anyone in Oita or Chiba are upset that their squads lost the cup games or would trade the 1 crucial point that each team picked up for a chance to move on in a cup? Really? Do you think the good folks in Shimizu or Tosu are disappointed that their squads were able to advance over severly diminished competition?
It's really a waste to force teams to play their best teams over reserves. One thing the intelligensia at the J League mothership have failed to ponder is that these games (and Nabisco Cup) are wonderful opportunities for new players to get a chance to face live fire without costing their squad chances at success or survival. Players get bloooded in cup competions. Recently watching Omiya's game against Cerezo and not seeing ANY of the potential young strikers is not only bad for the team, It's bad for Japan. I'm not saying that any of those players will be in the starting 11 for the blue anytime soon, but one good game could lead to another and who knows after that.
Finally, why are players serving League suspensions for cup game violations and vice versa. When Diego got his red card halfway through the game, Verdy suffered the ultimate penalty.......they lost. If you want to extend the ban 2 games to next years competition, fine. But penalizing a player the final 2 games of the season is not measued and not fair. Essentially you have crippled the squad. And you have provided teams a great disincentive to play Emperors Cup at all. Balance that with the FA decision for Omiya's Hato to serve a league suspension during a cup game and you see the problems with the league intertwining competitions.
I get the whole ACL angle.........really the refs aren't gonna let Fagiano Okayama ever represent Japan. Enough though. You seriously are ruining a perfectly wonderful competition and turning it into a winter version of that crappy Nabisco Cup