The Omiya Ardija squad are now looking forward to their departure on Thursday for the club's training camp on the Pacific island of Guam, an important period not only from a tactical point of view but also as far as team-building is concerned. Practice matches are confirmed for Monday 6th against Gamba Osaka, Thursday 9th against Albirex Niigata, Sunday 12th the grudge match with Tokyo Verdy 1969 and finally on Tuesday 14th against Vissel Kobe.
Comments from the players indicate that the team's preparations thus far have been harder than a normal pre-season - "it's tough every day at the moment, but we don't have any choice. If I tell myself it's for the team, I can cope okay," said Daigo Kobayashi - with two sessions taking place on some days, in less than ideal weather conditions. "We want to achieve as much as possible before going to Guam as well," said coach Toshiya Miura, "reassuring the players who were here last year that the plan is to help the new members to get used to our systems as quickly as we can."
"Rubbish, Chikara - my granny could do better than that"
"Going to Guam will help us all to get to know each other better," Yoshiyuki Kobayashi commented. "I don't understand everything about the tactics yet, but every day I learn more and it's going well." There's certainly a lot of importance attached to the two weeks on Guam. "The team that lines up in the first match against JEF will basically be decided by how things go when we get to the camp," suggested keeper Hiroki Aratani, indicative of the stress felt by many of the players in the run-up to 5th March. "It's good having the new guys in training, though," said Chikara Fujimoto, "it makes things fresh, it keeps the pressure up in a good way - if we can keep things like this for the whole of the season, it'll be a good year."