Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Midweek News Round-up

There are a few additional Squirrels news items to report covering the period since New Year's Day. First of all comes the announcement that winger Tomoya Uchida has left the club to join newly promoted Ventforet Kofu. The 27-year-old came to Ardija in 2008 having spent the first six years of his pro career at Yokohama FC. Despite picking up nearly fifty league appearances he never really made a first team spot his own at Omiya and after the arrival of Jun Suzuki as coach Uchida slipped off the radar almost completely, as there were getting on for half a dozen players preferred over him for the wide midfield roles. Uchida becomes the fifth person at Kofu with former Omiya connections after Technical Director Satoru Sakuma, coach Toshiya Miura and players Hiroki Aratani and Daisuke Tomita.

One of the more, uh, mysterious players to wear the orange shirt, striker Dudu departed Ardija in August after a bizarrely unsuccessful time in Japan, but has only now signed for Figueirense in his native Brazil. Dudu originally joined the Squirrels in the middle of 2009 alongside Rafael, with a track record that included the eye-catching title of K-League top scorer in 2008. But he made no more than a handful of first team starts - including most infamously his debut, when he was substituted at half time - and only once found the target for Omiya, in an Emperor's Cup tie against company team Sony Sendai.

A somewhat more reliable professional who unfortunately won't be coming to Omiya is Robson Ponte, the former Urawa Reds midfielder whose next move has been the subject of much press speculation. Many felt that he was likely to sign for the Squirrels, but instead Ponte has indicated that he will listen to offers only from J1 clubs outside of Saitama prefecture, i.e. he does not want to move to the Reds' near neighbours. In contrast, Shintaro Shimizu is a Japanese player at the start of his career who will be joining Ardija, having scored no fewer than five goals in four matches for Saitama's own Seibudai High School in their New Year run to the quarter finals of the All-Japan High School Football Tournament.

Away from player news, the Squirrels have announced that they will be hosting a Supporters' Meeting on 18 January. This can be taken as part of new club president Shigeru Suzuki's drive for openness in relations between Ardija and the team's supporters, following the Crowdgate scandal of 2010 that led to the departure of his predecessor Seigo Watanabe. The meeting will include a presentation from Suzuki and other senior figures in the Ardija administration on plans and targets for 2011 and the club's wider vision, with question and answer sessions to follow.



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