You somehow get the feeling Sho Goto feels more comfortable threading passes on the park than making a passionate pitch for Napier City Rovers in winter match previews.

That's because Goto generally requires more time and effort to find the words to express himself in English than to almost flawlessly trap and push the ball around at Bluewater Stadium in Napier when not on the road.

Football has a tendency to cut across any vernacular, although the Japanese midfielder found Uruguay teammate Martin Bueno had his back during the phone interview this week.

"They not in same league as us," says the 30-year-old before the Thirsty Whale-sponsored Blues kick off at 2pm against Seatoun in round four of the Chatham Cup at Park Island tomorrow. "It's going to be a tough game for us."


The Fergus Neil-skippered Rovers need no reminding the national knockout tournament in the beautiful game has an ugly reality — you snooze, you lose.

The three-time and defending Central League champions have etched their name on the symbol of national knockout cup supremacy four times: 1985, 1993, 2000 and 2002.

Sexier? More cut-throat? The cup wins that one hands down well before the engravers reach for their tools.

But there's no room for complacency against the equal third-placed Seatoun in the Chatham Cup, as Goto alludes to.

Seatoun play in the Capital Premier League One, two tiers below the elite Central League, although the club has a proud history, having won the cup twice, in 1957-58.

The Wellingtonians will be itching to show the big blue dogs why they are the only survivors among the Central League-heavy teams left in the running.

Stop Out Sports Club host Wellington Olympic at Hutt Park from 1pm, while Lower Hutt City kick off against Miramar Rangers at Fraser Park from 6pm today.

North Wellington welcome Western Suburbs at the Alex Moore turf from 2pm tomorrow.


All that equates to a Wellington whitewash if the Blues, from the Central Football catchment area, bow out tomorrow.

About this time last year, Rovers got a right royal reminder of what a lower-tier side can do in the cup when Upper Hutt City booted them out in just round two after a 3-0 hiding at Maidstone Park.

That came just two days after a 3-1 loss in the league to then newcomers Waterside Karori while player-coach Bill Robertson was at a family reunion in Fiji.

Goto is mindful Robertson is co-coach with Chris Greatholder for the impending national summer league, so how he performs is crucial to whether he will have a chance of returning to the premiership for the 2019-20 season.

"I really respect Bill and I have learned lots from him and my teammates as well," says the bloke who has had 15 months in the Bay and is in his second winter with the Blues.

He's enjoying staying with Canadian midfielder Patryk Misik under the roof of billet Maree Leatherby, of Napier, and her pet dog, Rico.

Martin Bueno (facing camera) has scored 19 goals this winter and has a tally of 45 in two seasons for the Blues. Photo/file
Martin Bueno (facing camera) has scored 19 goals this winter and has a tally of 45 in two seasons for the Blues. Photo/file