Lae soccer mourns Gariki death


THE soccer fraternity in Lae is in mourning the death of Lahi Soccer Association president Geob Gariki.
Gariki, pictured, passed away at Angau Memorial General Hospital on Thursday.
The 52-year-old from Nasinglatu village, Yabim Mape local level government in Finschhafen district was a strong willed person and was committed to soccer while having a full time job according to sister Serah Boi.
Gariki was the seventh in a family of 11 born to Saki and Boio Yansaeo.
He was adopted by his fraternal uncle Gariki from who he took his surname.
Boi said her brother was rushed to the Lae International Hospital with high blood pressure on Tuesday last week.
She said Gariki had suffered two heart attacks while at the LIH and was transferred to Angau Memorial General Hospital on Wednesday morning but passed away on Thursday morning.
“It’s a big loss to our family as he was a fatherly figure to his nieces and nephews and provided for them as well as keeping his commitment to soccer. He mentored many young people who will miss him,” Boi said.
Lae Soccer Association general secretary Tinge Emuka said Gariki founded the Consort United FC and was elected as treasurer of the association in 2014, where he served for a year. In 2015, he was elected president of the LSA and had a dream to start an NSL club.
“Putting a team in the National Soccer League Gariki was able to secure sponsorship from Lae Biscuit Company to sponsor Lahi United FC,” Emika said.
“He emphasised fair play on the field, off the field and in management.”
PNGFA president John KapiNatto said Gariki’s death was a big loss for soccer in Lae and nationwide.
“Geob’s death is a great loss. He was a president that had a great vision for his association and set out to accomplish things,” Kapi Natto said.
“One of his dreams was having a team to in the NSL.
“I helped him secure a sponsor for the team because he was very committed and passionate about soccer.”
Kapi Natto said Gariki was a president who was close to the players as well as dedicated to the club and management and his death was great loss for soccer.