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No Araujo -- please, no more 'all-star' soccer!

15 Sep 2005(Thu)

September 14: See what I mean!

They call it an all-star game?

So where's the player leading Gamba Osaka's charge toward a first J.League title?

Araujo, with 24 goals in 23 games, was nowhere to be seen when the J.League announced the two teams for the JOMO All-Star match at Oita on October 9.

Due to the rule that does not allow more than three players from one club, the silky Brazilian striker with the lovely left foot was overlooked, behind national team trio Miyamoto, Endo and Oguro.

Araujo's exclusion is further proof, if any were needed, that the all-star game should be scrapped after this season.

I have said before this year that I think the match has served its purpose and is now way past its "sell-by" date. It is an alien concept in the football world and means just one more match in an already crowded calendar, and an occasion I am sure the players selected would rather miss, if they were honest.

This year, too, it is sandwiched between two national team games in eastern Europe, meaning Zico cannot have all his best players in Latvia on October 8.

I really think the authorities should look long and hard at this event -- or, perhaps, "non-event" would be more appropriate -- and lay it to rest. Yes, it was good at the beginning to stir fan interest and involvement in the new professional league, but the league is now well established in Japan's sports culture and the fans are involved simply by being fans of their clubs. Let's just leave it at that.

The match is always well supported by sponsors and superbly presented by the J.League, so surely JOMO could be involved in another deal.

How about the JOMO J.League Championship, just like the Barclays English Premier League?

Or the JOMO Player of the Season?

Or even the JOMO J.League Awards Night?

Anything but the JOMO All-Star Soccer, as the absence of Araujo -- a candidate for the MVP award at the end of the season -- diminishes the event even more.

ends

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