The National, Tuesday 14th Febuary 2012
TWO weeks ago, Mendi Muruks was without a sponsor, however, at the close of the registration deadline this week, three rescuers are lining up to back the Southern Highlands team.
Latest to join the cue is the Kiburu Lodge of Mendi, which has offered to pay the K120,000 Digicel Cup registration fee.
Kiburu Lodge director Alex Awesa, who fronted up at PNGNRL office yesterday, was however told by general manager Hubert Warupi that the PNGNRL had an agreement with Muruks franchise owner Thomas Higgins.
In brief but heated discussion, Awesa said his company wanted to step in to support the Muruks and bring the team back to provincial capital.
He said the provincial government had spent over K1 million upgrading the Mendi’s number one rugby league field and it was only proper the Muruks returned to their homeground – Tente Oval.
Awesa said he was racing against the time frame set by PNGNRL for this Saturday.
He said as a local business, they wanted to step in and take up where Higgins had left off and thanked the Briton for his support over the last eight years.
However, Awesa stressed the Muruks was based outside of the province which was not fair on the fans and local leagues in Southern Highlands.
Awesa said his company would pay the affiliation fee but would work along with other corporate partners in Southern Highlands to back the Muruks team.
He said the patron of Mendi Muruks and Mendi MP Pr Isaac Joseph fully supported the acquisition of Mendi Muruks by the lodge.
Awesa said the promised K300,000 from SHP Governor Anderson Agiru was yet to come while the commitment by Higgins from Philippines had not materialised. So Kiburi Lodge was taking the issue front on to pay the money.
Warupi however queried whether the company was committed to providing long-term financial support for the team or for just on a one-off basis.