Shigeru Yokotani (Midfielder, 25) is the first player to be sent out on loan this season from Gamba. He will be joining fellow J2 Keihanshin rivals Kyoto Sanga for the 2013 season in which he will hope to get more playing time and get Kyoto back to J1.
The loan switch comes as no surprise to anyone who follows Gamba as Yokotani was on the periphery of the squad for the entire year. He started no games in the league campaign last season as was limited to just seven substitute appearances whilst being unused too, totalling just 132 minutes in the infamous and disastrous 2012 season. Furthermore, he could only add to a total of 160 minutes, one start and ten substitute appearances that he had from the previous league campaigns. His other five appearances for the club came in the Nabisco and Emperor’s Cups, the latter yielding his first goal for Gamba this season in a 3-0 win against Kansai University.
This loan spell will not be his first – during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Shigeru spent his time at Ehime F.C. where he made 81 league appearances, scoring eight goals. Combined with his cup appearances, he totalled 84 appearances and eight goals for the Shikoku club. Joining Kyoto could kick-start a rather slow career and at the age of 25, time is now against him to make a successful career for himself in J2 and maybe J1. He will be joining a team that finished 3rd last season and should have been automatically promoted but stuttered on the final two days and were then destroyed 4-0 at home to Oita Trinita in the play-offs. He will be hoping to ensure that the play-offs are reached in 2013.
He had this to say on his move:
“I have been playing for Gamba for three years since returning from Ehime. I received warm support from the fans and everyone at the club, for which I am truly thankful. I have now decided to join Kyoto Sanga on loan. I will keep working to become a great player. Please continue to support me in the future.” (Thanks to Vinci Per Osaka for the translation).
Shigeru can count on our support until he plays against us in J2 next season where we hope he and Kyoto fail miserably. Otherwise, I wish him the best for his loan move and hope he gets the games, minutes, goals and assists that he needs to get back into J1 for 2014. Good luck, Shigeru!