A very late Happy New Year from Aishiteru Tokyo!
I haven’t been able to put as much time as I’d like towards updating the site over the winter break, but I’m still posting odds and ends on Twitter via @aishiterutokyo so if you’re a Twitter user feel free to follow!
It seems like the team officially starts activities on the 24th, which generally means a press conference with the new players (and hopefully a sponsor announcement, and a foreign striker, and ponies and rocket cars for all).
For now, news in brief:
-The team will have training camp in Miyazaki Prefecture this year rather than spending a million dollars going to Guam.
-Preseason Match: 2/27 at home vs. Albirex Niigata. Not quite as exotic as vs. Consadole Sapporo in Okinawa last year but hey.
-Season Opener: 3/6 at home vs. Yokohama F. Marinos. This will be the second time the two squads have met on opening day; the first was 10 years ago as FC Tokyo won its first J1 match 1-0 on a late goal by Tuto.
-Week 2: 3/13 away at Urawa Reds. Again. Yippee. Given how much tickets go for I should just buy up as many as I can and make a profit.
In: Morishige, Matsushita, and a bunch of kids from the youth squad
Out: Asari (retired), Fujiyama (to Consadole Sapporo), Kondo (to Consadole Sapporo), Bruno (unknown), Sahara (will return to Kawasaki Frontale), Moniwa (to Cerezo Osaka)
Rumors: A few still festering but nothing’s gained any traction beyond a day or two. As of right now the squad only has three experienced forwards (Akamine, Hirayama, and Suzuki) on the roster, plus I think one or two of the youth members.
-Hirayama is the new hero of Samurai Blue after scoring a hat trick to help a team of fresh faces come from behind in Yemen earlier this month. He, along with Ishikawa, Tokunaga, Nagatomo, and Konno will be on the squad for Japan’s match against Venezuela on 2/2.
-Depending on call-ups, these 5 players may be with the NT up through March 3rd, giving Jofuku difficult circumstances under which to plan his lineup.