Farewell to a hero

Main Stories, Sports

The National – Thursday, February 17, 2011

PAPUA New Guinea rugby league star Aquila  Emil epitomised rugby league as an ambassador, as a mentor, a leader and a player.
And as his son, Junior Aquila Emil made his way to the altar (pulpit) to read his father’s eulogy, he broke the hearts of the congregation who shed tears freely at the funeral service at the Reverend Sioni Kami Memorial church yesterday.
For some they had seen him as an inspiration to their own lives.
Fighting back tears, Junior said: “My dad was a great mentor, he gave his best a father could ever give and he would always support us.”
“The death of my father will leave a lot of pain in our hearts but he had left many lessons for us to learn and many memories that we will never forgot.
“We thank God that you had been a wonderful father to us,” Junior said.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop, who attended the funeral, said: “He was a true ambassador of rugby league and his charisma will be a turning point for all.
“They should put their differences aside and work for the common good of the game Emil loved. Emil had done that so we must continue to carry on the good work he had left.
“He is a true ambassador not only in rugby league but for his family and those who were around him,” Parkop said.
Parkop was among others, including former PNG Rugby Football League  chairman Albert Veratau, the PNGNRL Bid team, former PNG Kumuls coach John Wagambie, who flew in from Alotau, former Kumuls mentor Mark Mom and the  chairman of selectors Arnold Krewanty who attend the church service.
The others were Stanley Haru, Richard Wagambie, Philip Boge, Kera Ngaffin, Joshua Kouru, Ronald ToVue, Charlie Wabo, Jessie Joe, Nigel Hukula and Johnson Kuike.
Emil’s death had inspired many within the rugby league fraternity, his family, friends and those around him.
His fame in the rugby league arena would leave a lasting legacy and footprints in the hearts of the rugby league administrators, players and, more importantly, the upcoming juniors.
Many spoke highly of him as one of the best league players of all-time. One of the best coaches in PNG and a former teammate Adrian Lam in memory of Emil has named his junior scholarship programme, the Aquila Emil scholarship scheme under the banner of the Adrian Lam Foundation.
The late Aquila Emil’s body will be flown out to his village, Meteui, New Hanover, New Ireland, today.
His death had also brought everyone within the PNGRFL together for the first time since the in-house conflict surfaced in 2009.
Emil has shown the light for all PNGRFL stakeholders to work together for the good and development of the game.
He would be keen to see the work he left behind continue to develop so that the nation could love watching an reading about rugby league.