Gamba have kicked off their 2013 pre-season activities with their annual pre-season press conference.
The press conference was streamed online via UStream for the first time ever, allowing fans worldwide the opportunity to view an event that is usually only witnessed by a select few. The stream was fairly good if a little on the quiet side at times; there was the occasional stutter but not so bad that it ruined the experience.
The new club president, Teruhisa Noro, kicked off proceedings and revealed the all-important slogan for 2013. “Fukkatsu”, which roughly translates as “Revival” or “Come-back” and is therefore quite an apt choice as that’s exactly the outcome that Gamba will be aiming for this term.
Mr. Noro swiftly departed the stage and was replaced by new manager Kenta Hasegawa and the new players. There hasn’t been an awful lot of activity in terms of inbound transfers so the club only had two new faces to parade – Jae-Suk Oh and Kenya Okazaki. Both gave short introductions to the waiting press and then the three fielded a selection of questions from the floor.
The squad numbers for 2013 were also revealed via the official site with Oh taking the #2 jersey and Okazaki taking the #25. Shu Kurata switches to #6 so that returnee Shoki Hirai can sport his favourite #14 shirt. Keisuke Iwashita (#8) and Hiroyuki Abe (#13) also have new numbers. Check out the freshly updated squad page for the full list!
The big news to come from the squad list is that the club have finally confirmed that most of the big hitters will be staying for the battle to escape J2. Being able to call upon veterans like Endo, Futagawa, Myojin, Konno and Kaji plus talented youngsters such as Kurata and Fujiharu will be a massive boost and should give Gamba a big advantage over other clubs in the division. On the other hand, Seung-Yeoul Lee’s absence from the list suggests that he may not be returning to the club after all.
The final event of the day was the much anticipated reveal of the new uniforms that the players will be sporting throughout 2013. Gamba last changed their strips in January 2011 and that wasn’t much of a change from the previous look but this time Umbro have gone back to the drawing board completely and presented some brand new designs – modelled on the day by Endo, Futagawa and Fujigaya.
The new home uniform harks back to past strips with the traditional blue stripes that are slightly thicker than the black ones but, on closer inspection, the blue stripes are actually composed of two different shades – the usual dark blue and a lighter shade, which is reminiscent of that used for Gamba’s early shirts. I’m on the fence about this strip as it looks good in some photos and not so good in others!
The change strip is the traditional white with a double stripe running vertically through the badge. These stripes are again composed of two shades of blue, which compliments the home shirt nicely whilst also being unique enough to give the shirt its own feel. At the moment I feel that this is the nicer of the two shirts.
Three goalkeeper strips have also been revealed. One is a hideous mangled version of the home strip, which I assume will be only worn with the away, and the other two have a more traditional plain look – one orange and the other lime green. I’m sure Atsushi Kimura will look great in them!
That concludes the news from the pre-season press conference. Stick with us for more pre-season news as the players embark on their gruelling schedule in order to be at 100% in time for the big kick off in March!
Endo and Futagawa model the new uniforms! (Photo courtesy of Alan from JSoccer.com )