‘Gone But Not Forgotten’

Baitieri said the passing away of Musu­namasi was felt by the rugby league fam­ily all around the world.
10 May 2019 18:09
‘Gone But Not Forgotten’
Funeral service of the late Peni Musunamasi at the National Gymnasium in Suva on May 9, 2019. Photo: Leone Cabenatabua

Rugby League International Federa­tion’s Tas Baitieri was in tears af­ter describing the hard work done by fallen Fiji National Rugby League ex­ecutive chairman Peni Musunamasi for the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII to play in Fiji on October 10.

“Peni had been lobbying for the past four to five years for the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII to play here against the Fi­jian All Stars,” Baitieri who is the RLIF’s development officer said while delivering his eulogy at the National Gymnasium, Suva yesterday.

“The Australian Prime Minister’s XIII first played Papua New Guinea in 2005 and it has been an annual event.

“Peni talked to me about having them play against a Fijian All Stars side in Fiji. He worked hard on it.

“I regret that once it’s going to happen on October 10, which is your Independ­ence Day, Peni is no longer here.”

Baitieri said the passing away of Musu­namasi was felt by the rugby league fam­ily all around the world.

“Peni had an immense presence on the rugby league family around the world with condolence messages received from Australia’s NRL, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, England, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, USA, Cook Islands, Ukraine, Lebanon, Serbia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Thailand, Canada, Cam­eroon, Burundi and Papua New Guinea.”

Baitieri also highlighted the presence of Saint Mary’s Rugby League Cup presi­dent Warren Smith.

“This is because of their 30-year friend­ship with Peni. Every year Warren brings his club’s under-13 side to Fiji where they play a couple of matches.

“The St Mary’s over the years have host­ed or look after the Fiji Bati teams.”


FNRL board director Tomi Finau said the late Musunamasi was instrumental in ensuring that devotion becomes a part of all local rugby league teams.

“He was instrumental in removing the traditional war dance Quruquruvatu, which was usually performed by the Bati and for them to sing the chorus, Oqo na noqu masu.

“Peni made sure by implementing that devotion is compulsory for the Fijian Bati team and this is made clear to the over­seas coaches and players.”

Musunamasi was laid to rest at the Vatu­waqa Cemetery.

Edited by Osea Bola


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