THE SPORTING fraternity is mourning the death of one of its more passionate supporters, Sir Kapi Natto, who was in his mid 60s.
Natto, from Kutubu in the Southern Highlands, was the franchise owner of NSL Hekari Souths United Football Club.
He flew to Lae over the weekend to watch his beloved Hekari United FC play.
Natto was rushed to the Lae International Hospital yesterday afternoon after collapsing at Nadzab airport while waiting to board a flight to Port Moresby.
He was pronounced dead on arrival.
Close aide and Besta PNG United coach, Mathew Witu, confirmed from Lae last night that soccer and PNG sports had lost one of its most committed supporters.
Natto’s son John Kapi-Natto, who is the chairman of the National Soccer League (NSL) board and vice president of the PNG Football Association, is in New Zealand on official duties but is expected back today.
Sir Kapi, a staunch Taraganu man His daughter-in-law and Hekari United FC team manageress Vonnie Kapi-Natto last night confirmed that Natto’s body is currently at the Lae International Hospitalmorgue. She said the family is shocked at the sudden death of Natto.
Natto, a retired correctional services officer, is from the Fasu tribe of Lake Kutubu.
His involvement in the development of sport goes back to the late 1970s and early 80s in Mendi, when he transformed Mendi Tarangau Rugby League Club into a formidable force in the Mendi Rugby League competition.
He inspired and helped found the National Tarangau Association, the umbrella entity for all Tarangau clubs in the country.
Natto became the founding president of the Tarangau Sports Association which administers the National Tarangau Rugby League tournament.
Only last week, he spoke about his sadness at seeing the body he set up becoming defunct, and expressed a desire to help revive it.
He was also president of soccer clubs, Souths United in Port Moresby and Hekari United in the semi professional competition, the NSL.
His support for sports was not just in words. As a Kutubu landowner, he convinced the Petroleum Resource Kutubu (PRK) board to pour money into all forms of sports including netball, soccer, rugby union, basketball, and rugby league.