THE Telikom PNG Kumuls were given a hero’s send off over the weekend by the PNGRFL and partners including acting Sports Minister James Marape.
At a farewell dinner on Saturday in Port Moresby, Marape wished the team well and encouraged them to be committed and dedicated to “push on that extra mile” and make the country proud.
Marape also offered a reward of K3,000, from his own pocket, for outstanding performances to the best defensive and attacking player during the series.
He also handed a traditional stone axe and a club to captain Paul Aiton and coach Stanley Gene to symbolise a well prepared team going into battle.
Marape said the Kumuls’ performance during the series would also play a big role in elevating PNG in its NRL bid stating that “one dream, one sport, one people can take us there”.
He also thanked sponsors that had come on board to back the Kumuls promising that they would get their moneys worth.
Kompiam-Ambum MP John Pundari also revealed that the PNG Sports Commission along with the Mineral Resource Authorityhad pledged a sum of K10,000 for the team.
Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd managing director Dr John Mua said the country had not gone through any experience that could unify the people but rugby league had that potential.
“We have never gone through anything that can bind us, it will only be through sports like rugby league in this instance, that we will be united as one, and the PNG Kumuls always bring people together, the team always give us a sense of unity, therefore, they have to be supported.”
He also made aware to the team that PNG fans had a lot of expectations of the team and urged them to be winners for the country and to do PNG proud against the world’s best.