Thanks for the memories, Sho. Photo by Blake Weston, Weston Design
Sho Goto has left Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers to head home to his native Japan recently after a hugely successful two years at the club.
Fittingly, his last game for the Rovers was as a winner in the Chatham Cup final, where he unleashed a spectacular volley in the 88th minute to make sure the trophy came back to Bluewater Stadium. A goal worthy of any cup final, and a perfect showstopper for players and fans to look back on for years to come.
Goto has scored a few crucial and memorable goals in a Blue jersey, and was also a vital part of the 2018 Ultra Football League winning campaign.
Head Coach Bill Robertson, who brought the midfielder to the Bay, said due to the current situation globally with the Covid-19 pandemic, Goto resolved the time was right to re-join his family in Japan. The Blues boss says the popular player leaves a legacy behind and his name etched on two trophies, as well on the hearts of many of the Blues’ faithful.
“I was delighted to bring Sho to Rovers, he has been phenomenal for me and the club.
“Over the last two years he has made a huge contribution, and was instrumental in our Central League  and Chatham Cup wins.
“He fitted right into the Rovers’ family and contributed on and off the field. You would see him regularly out watching our juniors play at the weekends, and he was a favourite with the academy players he coached.
“His level of professionalism helped educate our younger squad players on how to play and apply themselves at a high level. During his time here he has been a real positive influence on our younger players. He has also been an integral part of Hawke’s Bay society, and also represented Hawke’s Bay United during the summer.
“I wish Sho all the best for the future. He has been a brilliant servant to the club and has made a massive contribution to everything we have achieved over the last two years."
Robertson’s feelings were echoed by Rovers’ Chairman, Phil Doran:
“Sho has been a huge part of the club during his time here and I am sure all our players and fans wish him well in everything he does in the future. He will be sorely missed.
“For Rovers he has been a great ambassador on and off the pitch, a highly-talented player who always played for jersey. He has been crucial to our recent successes.
“Everyone at the club sends their best wishes to Sho, and, needless to say, we would love to see him back one day.
“As well as making a great impression with fans and players, Sho leaves Rovers as a champion.
“We thank you, Sho, for everything, and wish you nothing but the best.
"Thanks for some great memories."