By ROBINSON LEKA
K ORA Lega, 21, grew up without knowing his father.
His mum who brought him up and his siblings – an elder brother and a younger sister – died when he was 14. Kora was forced to drop out of school to earn some money to support his siblings.
Yes, he had been through some tough times and learnt a lot of lessons about survival at a young age.
Mum Kinibo Lega is from Bonanamo village in Rigo, Central. She raised older brother Gani, Kora and younger sister Emma with the help of grandfather Lega Gani.
“I grew with my mum and her parents. That was it. I didn’t really know much about my father growing up. All I know is that he is from Mount Hagen.
“I don’t let it bother me much because I was surrounded by Mum’s relatives. That was good enough for me.”
Kora took up his maternal family name.
“That name I will carry with me.”
In 2013, when his mother passed away after a short illness, grandfather Lega took care of the two brothers and sister.
Kora also decided to leave school to support big bro Gani who was already in high school.
“Gani was progressing in school so I thought I could do some fishing to support him and earn something on the side to help our grandparents.
“I was in Grade Four and not really keen of going further.
“Fishing was what people in my village do to earn money. I am also good at diving, so it helped.”
His other passion is rugby league. He wants to become a Hunters player.
Despite being from Central, Kora today plays centre for the Enga Mioks rugby league team.
His passion for fishing is matched by his love for rugby. He played in tournaments in the village and parts of the province. In 2018, he received the best player award for the Redscar Laumas of Porebada in the Hiri-West Nines.
Kora in action for the Enga Mioks during the 2020 Digicel Cup elimination final at the Sir John Guise Stadium.
He was called up to play for the Dobo Warriors in the Port Moresby Rugby Football League competition.
“I played six games for Dobo before the season ended.
But it was a good learning experience because I got the feel of the game in a town competition.”
In the offseason of 2018, Kora played for the Northbuild Construction Nines team in Lae for the Snax Nines tournament. His talent was noticed immediately. He was signed to play for the Red Bulls, the junior team of the Lae Tigers.
In 2019, when the Central Dabaris entered the Digicel Cup, Kora was named in the development squad.
“It’s exciting to have a team from Central in the Digicel Cup and I had my hopes of running out with them in 2019. But unfortunately I was dropped.”
He spent 2019 with the Dobo Warriors.
Last year, Kora was named again in the Dabaris training squad. But for the second time, he did not make it into the final squad. His breakthrough came via former SP Hunter and Mioks coach Roger Laka.
“Roger Laka and Vagi Vali, a trainer with the Mioks, made an offer for me to join them. I was lost for words.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
The Mioks finished sixth in the 2020 season and reached the Cup playoffs. They were eliminated in the first round of the finals by the Hela Wigmen.
Kora is now into the second season with the Mioks under new coach Andiki Andrew.
Kora is not looking back. He has a future to plan for.
“I have learnt a lot from my first season with the Mioks and I want to grow more as a player. I want to use to this chance I have been given to go all the way to the next level – and get into the Hunters.”
It has been done before. Some who start from humble beginnings reach the top through sheer guts, determination and hard work.
So watch Kora, folks!