SPORTS

Finau: Peni A True Son Of Fiji

"The sport enjoying $4 million sponsorship from mobile giant Vodafone is through the dedication of Musunamasi and his team of hardworking volunteers."
04 May 2019 15:40
Finau: Peni A True Son Of Fiji
Late Peni Musunamasi (right) with former Fijian Bati captain Wes Naiqama during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: FNRL

Former Fiji National Rugby League general manager Tomi Finau believes the late chairman Peni Musunamasi was a legacy and an aspiration to all sports administrators in the country.

The Naioti, Yale, Kadavu native died on Thursday in Suva after a short illness.

He was instrumental in keeping the sport alive being one of the pioneers

The sport enjoying $4 million sponsorship from mobile giant Vodafone is through the dedication of Musunamasi and his team of hardworking volunteers.

Finau said Fiji has lost a son who was passionate about a minor sport in the country to many, but a major one to the late Musunamasi.

Having voted out during annual general meeting but fought his way back for the fifth time now and worked his way out in trying to establish good governance and transparency in the sport.

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“I’m lost for words; I have never met a person with such strong conviction to lift the sport to where it is today.

“He evangelised the sport- and one of the strong decisions he made was removing the Quruquruvatu’ (war cry) in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and introduced the hymn ‘ Oqo Na Noqu Masu’ which the team sang before their match.

“A lot of people were against the decision he made but he was adamant that it will work out, which it did and our Fiji Bati team reaching the final four,” Finau said.

The 56-year old had endured struggles in the sport since 2001.

“No one listened to them, no one assisted, no sponsorship but Musunamasi had a very strong belief that one day the sport would stand up in Fiji which is happening now.

“He has sacrificed a lot for the sport, he has left us a scar, now we can’t leave the sport despite being voted out but we are all indebted to the late Musunamasi,” Finau added.

Tomi Finau

Tomi Finau

Media tribute

The Fiji Sports Media Association also shared their condolences to the Musunamasi family during this difficult time.

Association president Maikeli Seru said: “His last engagement with members of the Fiji Sports Media Association was during the first Fiji Sports Media Symposium at the Holiday Inn Suva, last week.

“It was co-organised by the association and Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC). Musunamasi was scheduled to speak on the second day, but he appeared on the first day, and he replaced one of the invited guests who did not turn up.

“His exact words were ‘God works in mysterious ways because the 10 minutes given to me was too short.

“Like journalists, sports officials have less time to complete the mountains of work to improve our sports. Become journalists of hope by upholding the truth and always practise fair and balance reporting,” he told FSMA members.

Seru said Musunamasi was among the best sporting officials who always help sports journalists.

“He did not know how to say no when requested for interview. We will miss him and the members of the FSMA pass on our condolences to his Musunamasi’s family during this time of grief,” he added. Edited by Osea Bola

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