From Amano to Masa, various stories of people from K1 Japan

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Each Japanese player in the K-League 1 has their own story.

So far, there are 10 players from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in the 2023 K League 1. There are 4 Japanese and 4 Australian nationals each, and Ikromzon Alibayev (Gangwon FC) from Uzbekistan and Hosam Ayesh (FC Seoul) from Syria have been recruited. Among them, the stories of Japanese players are interesting.

# ‘Hyundai Derby?’ This year, ‘Amano Derby!’

Amano Jun (31, Jeonbuk Hyundai) 먹튀검증 was loaned to Ulsan Hyundai from Yokohama F. Marinos last year. Amano led the attack with his unique left-footed kick and passing ability, and added strength to the league championship. He recorded double-digit offensive points with 9 goals and 1 assist while playing 30 games.

This season, he wears a Jeonbuk uniform. In regards to the transfer to a rival team, Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo strongly criticized him, calling him “the worst Japanese player I’ve ever met.” Amano also said, “Director Hong’s remarks are regrettable. I didn’t lie and Ulsan’s proposal was late.”

Coincidentally, the two teams will face off in the opening game at 2:00 pm on the 25th at Ulsan Munsu Stadium. Hyundai Derby was reborn as Amano Derby. Attention is focusing on whether Amano, who won Ulsan for the first time in 17 years, will be able to lift the championship trophy again in Jeonbuk beyond Ulsan.

# There is no Amano shadow, because Esaka is here!

After losing Amano, Ulsan recruited Esaka Ataru (30). Esaka is an attacking midfielder from the Japanese national team. It’s a different style from Amano. Along with his basic passing ability, his strength is his activity. Based on his mobility, he travels all over the midfield. He also has the advantage of using both feet freely.

He is a newcomer to the K-League, but there is no problem adapting. An official from Ulsan said, “We have coaching staff who can speak Japanese, including coach Hong and coach Seigo Ikeda, so we are communicating well. In addition, Kim Young-kwon and Jung Seung-hyun have also played in Japan in the past, so they are helping me a lot.”

He continued, “I share a room with Jung Seung-hyun during the training camp, and when I was in Ulsan, I took him to a restaurant. Esaka himself is also grateful and is expressing his will to integrate into the team sooner.” You have to overcome the inevitable comparison with Amano.

# Unusual ‘unsung hero’

Keita Suzuki (25) joined Daegu FC last season. Keita is a multiplayer player and can play as a center as well as a left sideback. He is short at 173cm, but unlike the average Japanese player, he enjoys fighting. He actively tried his tackles and received good reviews from Daegu fans. Although he had no attacking points, he made 27 appearances as a starter and as a substitute.

This season, Keita’s role has become even more important. Daegu filled all 5 foreign players as attackers. In addition to the existing Cesingya and Pena, Edgar, Serato, and Baselus joined. In order to maximize offense, the quota of foreign players was focused on the front, and Keita should focus more on defense.

# “Promotion? No, let’s risk our lives for ‘remaining’.”

Daejeon Hana Citizen’s Masatoshi Ishida (posterior name Martha) is the protagonist of a famous quote that shook the K-League. Martha wore a Daejeon uniform in the summer of the 2021 season after passing through Ansan Greeners, Suwon FC, and Gangwon. In the midst of a fierce competition for rankings, Martha gave an impression in an interview by shouting in Korean, “Let’s risk your life for promotion.”

However, Daejeon lost to Gangwon in the promotion playoffs that season and failed to promote. Daejeon and Massa struggled fiercely and entered the first division by defeating Kim Cheon in the promotion playoff last season. Furthermore, Gangwon, who gave the pain, will play an opening game at Daejeon World Cup Stadium at 4:30 pm on the 26th. Now, he has to risk his life to stay and play in the K-League 1.

[Photo = Jun Amano, Ataru Esaka, Keita Suzuki, Masatoshi Ingshida. Photo = Korea Professional Football Federation]

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