‘Tis a sad day at Sandpit Towers as we learn of the departure of two of our, or at least my, favourite Port FC stars. As I type this, my salt tears drip onto the keyboard, my wife drapes a consoling arm around my shoulder, and I stare disconsolately into the bottom of my wine glass. Because, dear readers, on Saturday, messrs Genki Nagasato and Josimar Rodrigues will put on the hallowed blue & orange for the last time, for both are moving on at the end of the 2017 season.
Genki joined us from Ratchaburi – where, fittingly, he will play his last game in Thailand on Saturday – at the start of the 2016 T2 season, and quickly won the hearts of Port fans with his hard-working, all-action style. No, he’s never going to be mistaken for a Messi or a Neymar, and he may have the delicate first touch of a chest of drawers, but there are few sights in Thai football that gladden the heart more than seeing the Genk, socks down, pelting down the left (or occasionally, for reasons best known to Jadet, the right) wing, and his sheer joy at scoring a goal, or simply playing football in general, is infectious. In his 2 years at Port, Genki always gave 110%, was never seen diving or play-acting, and very obviously enjoyed every single bloody minute on the pitch, which is a lot rarer than it should be.
Favourite Genki Moment
We didn’t expect him to figure much in 2017 – indeed many were surprised that he was still on Port’s books when the season started – but he popped up 5 minutes into injury time in our first game at home to Ratchaburi to head home a late equaliser and spark wild scenes of celebration on the terraces amongst fans who’d been starved of football for nearly 6 months; since when he’s pretty much been a first-team regular.
The Brazilian striker joined Port a couple of games into 2017 on the back of an impressive 2016 T1 season at relegated Army Utd, where he bagged 16 goals. He may not have turned out to be the Scary Foreign Striker Port fans have long craved, but his 17-goal haul so far this season is the best return for any Port striker since King Leandro in 2014. And he’s always done it with a smile on his face and, like Genki, by working his knackers off in every game, despite being in a team that has consistently failed to give him the kind of service he thrives on. He’s a good honest player and, as we found when we interviewed him earlier this year, he’s also a lovely bloke with a great sense of humour. He also featured in the first ever Portcast, and for that alone he will go down in Sandpit folklore.
Favourite Josi Moment
He scored twice in 2 minutes at Muangthong to help Port to a 3-2 win. What more need I say.
Genki is apparently heading back to Japan; Josi’s next destination is as yet unknown. As they played together in Japan and again at Port it’s possible they may move together. But whichever team takes them on will get players who put in a shift every game, and play the game as it’s meant to be played – with great sportsmanship and a big smile. The Sandpit thanks them for their contribution to Port, bids them farewell, wishes them the best of luck for the future, and hopes we see them back at the PAT in the very near future – and we’ll make sure to give them a good send-off at Ratchaburi on Saturday!