The National, Wednesday 29th May 2013
THE introduction of the so-called semi-professional inter-city rugby league competition has led to the demise of local competitions around the country responsible for producing some of the best players, according to Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa.
He pointed the finger at the abandonment of Goroka’s once premier rugby league ground the Sir Danny Leahy oval in the Eastern Highlands capital last Sunday when he was there to kick off the local season.
He also made a commitment of K100,000 over the next five years.
“The inter-city rugby league concept does not benefit the smaller competitions but it is taking away the interest and killing local leagues in the country,” Kimisopa said.
He noted the immense contributions of the ground named after pioneer business man Sir Danny Leahy towards the development of rugby league in the country.
Sir Danny Leahy rugby league ground was the breeding ground for some of the greatest players like Paul Kombinari, John Kelly, Tuiyo Evei, John Joseph, Ifisoe Segeyaro, Stainer Sapu, Oscar Zugu, Makali Aizue, Fraser Giheno, Ati Lomutopa, Joppa Gomia, David Gomia, Ivan Mosoka, Sukope Iko, Opoe Soga, David Tinemau, Sam Karara, Noah Andy, Joseph McConnor, Bob Greathead, Leva Tete, Allan Rero, Samu Sasama, David Buko and Stanley Gene.
Kimisopa, (pictured) is adamant that they (the fans) come back to reclaim the field abandoned after the transfer of Digicel Cup Games to the National Sports Institute (NSI) grounds and the extinction of local Goroka Rugby League competition.
He wanted to back a newly established Goroka Rugby League management to revive Sir Danny Leahy rugby league to its former glory where expatriates, families, men and women alike enjoyed rugby league during weekends.
While making this known, Kimisopa supported the new management with K10,000 and and further pledge another K10,000 for the final presentations.
“My office will provide K100,000 over the next five years; K20,000 annually towards supporting the league in its efforts to come back,” he said.
Kimisopa however, urged the management to use judiciously the funding and ensure the competition did not tolerate any kind of violence or unsportsmanlike behaviour from the players and supporters.
“I want to see financial reports and want to see children, girls, families and expatriates coming back here (Danny Leahy ground).
“It will only be through good management that sponsors would be attracted,” Kimisopa said.