The Japan CP Football Championships took place in the end of September in Gifu prefecture with seven participating teams. As always it was supposed to extend over two days but the approaching typhoon Trami decided to rain on the plans. Similarly to the last year, it was shortened to one day instead and games in second half of the day were played in torrential downpour.
Esperanza went to competition not only as defending champions but as back-to-back winners. Accordingly all the opponents were more than keen to show their ability against defending champions.
As the Esperanza players were determined to make it three-peat, the first results were bit of a disappointment. Instead of letting the results sway the team from the goal, everyone pulled together in those extreme conditions. Showing some real samurai spirit in stringing together couple of wins and finding themselves in the Championships final!
The final was very even and exciting affair, finishing 1-1 in regulation time. This meant the penalties were on the cards. After two players from each team scored their’s, Ken Oozeki- Esperanza’s defensive stalwart, stepped on the penalty spot. After promising run-up Ken blasted a strong shot to………the dark and rainy, typhoon wretched skies, creating his own Roberto Baggio Finals moment. That meant Esperanza earned the second place, ending their historic Championship winning streak.
“Naturally I’m very disappointed. Not only about missing the penalty, but also as a defender letting them score against us in the Final. Despite that, I learned a lot from that experience and competition. Playing against the best CP players from all-over Japan, I saw on what things I have to improve on in coming training sessions to make amends in next year’s tournament!”
Although it’s always difficult to lose in such a cruel way, all the team members were determined to come back stronger for the next year’s games, and as few members said, it just gave them some extra motivation to train even harder in Esperanza’s weekly sessions.