Captain’s fine gesture to farewell valued Japanese teammate
BEING the fine captain he is, Jack Cabassi couldn't let his injured Japanese teammate head home without one last trip to the beach.
After an Ipswich Knights send-off for classy midfielder Sho Otsuka on Thursday night, Cabassi organised a relaxing outing at Burleigh Heads today.
Otsuka has decided to head home to Japan to complete the rehabilitation he needs from a pelvis injury which flared after the August 22 local derby against Western Pride.
Otsuka was the standout performer in his team's 2-1 Queensland Premier League victory that night before being troubled by the setback.
"It's disappointing but I guess that's life,'' Cabassi said of losing a valued footballing teammate and housemate during his first season with the Knights.
"I was good to get to know him and learn a bit more about the Japanese culture.
"It's just a shame what's happened in football. He got injured.''
Having recently returned from two hamstring stains, Cabassi knows as well as anyone how frustrating it is trying to get back playing at this stage of the season.
He thanked Otsuka for his service as did other Knights players and coaching staff at Thursday night's session.
Otsuka is due to fly out of Queensland as the Knights tackle Cabassi's former team Holland Park Hawks on Sunday afternoon at Bundamba.
Cabassi said it was better for Otsuka to get the rehab he needs in Japan being unlikely to return to the Knights field this season.
"He came back and played the midweek game against Logan a couple of weeks ago but that was it. The injury was worse than what he first thought,'' Cabassi said.
The Knights skipper is glad to be back having first hurt his right hamstring before tweaking the other one shortly after.
He was disappointed he missed the local derby against Western Pride but hopes to play in the Friday night return clash on October 30 at Bundamba.
Western Pride are looking to build on last weekend's 2-2 draw against Holland Park when they host Wynnum in Saturday night's encounter with Wynnum.
As for the Knights recent winless run, Cabassi offered an honest assessment.
"It's a bit hard to take,'' he said.
"You build a squad around a few players like Sho and Lachy (striker Lachlan Munn) and when things come up - whether it's injury or you have got a uni prac - it's a shame.
"With the big transfer window being shut, you can't really replace them.''
Munn has left for work and another talented midfielder Josh Wilson has also been injured having built a strong connection with Otsuka.
"We've just got to dig deep and get through this little slump and get three points at the weekend,'' Cabassi said.
And as Cabassi always does, lead the way like he has today in giving his Japanese friend a final day out in sunny Queensland.
"He's been working since he got here and then footy takes up most of the weekend so I just wanted to show him a big beach in Burleigh and then go out to dinner with him as a family tomorrow and then send him off,'' Cabassi said.
Otsuka returned the gesture by donating his football boots to the club.
FQPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Wynnum at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Sunday (3pm): Ipswich Knights v Holland Park at Eric Evans Reerve, Bundamba.