THE sleepy river port of Kiunga in Western Province came alive last Saturday as rugby league witnessed the biggest sponsorship in the history of sports in this part of the country.
The Stanley Gas Development Partners Repsol, Horizon Oil, Osaka Gas and Mitsubishi Corporation combined to give Kiunga Rugby League Association a K150,000 boost that has raised the profile of the sport and the league in Papua New Guinea.
The morale boosting big sponsorship came in the form of full sets of jerseys for all 8 teams in A and B grades, registration of all players to the PNGRFL, registration of all referees and provision of their new their uniforms,
footballs, goalpost pads and training gear.
Repsol Community Affairs Manager (PNG) Robin Moaina and Horizon Community Relations Superintendent Nick
Wambari presented the uniforms to captains of the 8 teams after they were blessed by local church leader Pastor Sugam Koma before the biggest crowd in Kiunga sporting history.
Indeed Moaina and KRL President Roy Kakarere agreed it was a historic occasion for the league and the people of Western Province. In receiving the sponsorship, Kakarere appealed to his players to promote the game in the spirit
of true sportsmanship.
Moaina also told the crowd that Stanley Gas partners are pleased to be part of the development of rugby league in Western Province. He also said that while they are pleased to put their money into developing league, the players
and administrators are also responsible to ensure that the sport is played in the spirit of sportsmanship.
“The Stanley Gas Partners are pleased to assist you but in doing so we ask that your honour our commitment by doing your part by raising the level of the game by playing well and playing fairly,” he said.
“We will continue our support if we see there is no disturbance or violence on the field by players or supporters.”
Kakarere also echoed the same sentiments adding the Stanley Gas Partners had put a lot of money, time and effort
into supporting rugby league in Kiunga and they expect their money’s worth of sporting entertainment.
Moaina said: “Play with pride and play fairly. I am sure your new uniforms will also inspire you players to aim high and Stanley Gas Partners will be happy if a few of you can make it to the PNG Hunters or even the Kumuls teams.
Referee Harry Kairu said in all his years of refereeing rugby league in Kiunga, the gesture by Stanley Gas Partners was the biggest by any corporate group in Western Province.