The National- Monday, February 7, 2011
AS the rugby league fraternity mourns the passing of one of PNG’s greatest players, there is a strong feeling that his death could breathe new life into helping the game and its administration find its way to recovery.
Former Kumul Aquila Emil, 44, was shot dead in the early hours of Friday morning.
The shooting was not related to current rugby league issues and the Bid team was saddened by the tragic loss.
Regarded as one of PNG’s best halfbacks, Emil was a development officer with the PNG NRL Bid.
He travelled the country delivering the inaugural All Schools Programme and Carnival.
He was passionate about passing his skills to children and teachers and supporting the sport’s growth.
Aquila shared the Bid’s dream, to have a team in the NRL franchise.
He believed PNG had raw talent that could be developed and play amongst the best in the world.
Bid chairman and Sports Minister Philemon Embel expressed his heart felt condolences on behalf of the Bid team.
“Aquila was an important player in the bid.
“We are sorry that such a heinous thing has happened to our friend and the bid and its staff will assist in whatever way we can to support the family and make sure they are comfortable and able to continue through this difficult time.”
Former Kumul five-eighth and junior rugby league mentor, Iffisoe Segeyaro was crushed.
“It’s a big blow to the junior development programme, particularly the Bid’s all schools programme.
“He was a personal friend of mine and even though he was a generation behind me, I had a lot of respect for him on and off the field.
“He was in the forefront with the coaching and accreditation programme with the NRL bid where he was up skilling teachers to impart his great knowledge of rugby league,” Embel said.
Another Kumul icon Arnold Krewanty was devastated by the death of his best mate.
“I’m not going to let my mates passing make me bitter.
“I’m determined to do what Aquila would want me to do and find a way to support and fix rugby league in PNG….. I will do this with Aquila in my heart…. I know he will be beside me for the rest of my life,” Krewanty said.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop also extended his deepest sympathy to the Emil family.
He is working with Emil’s bid colleagues and friends to find a way that the people of Port Moresby and PNG can best remember the Kumul hero and continue his dreams.
“We need to use the passion he had for rugby league and continue his great work.
We should also use this opportunity, as sad as it is, to bring everyone in rugby league together again and make peace for the good of the game,” Parkop said.
“The PNG NRL Bid and its partners and friends salute you Aquila.
“Our message is simple, ‘We will miss you and continue what you started.’”