PAPUA New Guinea rugby league star Aquila Emil epitomised rugby league as an ambassador, as a mentor, a leader and a player, The National reports.
For some they had seen him as an inspiration to their own lives.
|Widow Marieta (second from right), eldest son Aquila Emil Jr and eldest daughter Vavine (left) weep as members of the great 1992 Kumuls carry the casket of Aquila Emil into church|
“The death of my father will leave a lot of pain in our hearts but he had left many lessons for us to learn and many memories that we will never forgot.
“We thank God that you had been a wonderful father to us,” Junior said.
|Aquila Emil's casket against the backdrop of grieving family members|
“They should put their differences aside and work for the common good of the game Emil loved. Emil had done that so we must continue to carry on the good work he had left.
“He is a true ambassador not only in rugby league but for his family and those who were around him,” Parkop said.
Parkop was among others, including former PNG Rugby Football League chairman Albert Veratau, the PNGNRL Bid team, former PNG Kumuls coach John Wagambie, who flew in from Alotau, former Kumuls mentor Mark Mom and the chairman of selectors Arnold Krewanty who attend the church service.
The others were Stanley Haru, Richard Wagambie, Philip Boge, Kera Ngaffin, Joshua Kouru, Ronald ToVue, Charlie Wabo, Jessie Joe, Nigel Hukula and Johnson Kuike.
|Former Kumuls Joshua Kouoru (left), Tuksy Karu and Ronald Tovue laying wreaths on the casket of the late Aquila Emil yesterday|
His fame in the rugby league arena would leave a lasting legacy and footprints in the hearts of the rugby league administrators, players and, more importantly, the upcoming juniors.
Many spoke highly of him as one of the best league players of all-time. One of the best coaches in PNG and a former teammate Adrian Lam in memory of Emil has named his junior scholarship programme, the Aquila Emil scholarship scheme under the banner of the Adrian Lam Foundation.
|Junior rugby league players whom Emil helped to develop pay their last respects|
His death had also brought everyone within the PNGRFL together for the first time since the in-house conflict surfaced in 2009.
Emil has shown the light for all PNGRFL stakeholders to work together for the good and development of the game.
He would be keen to see the work he left behind continue to develop so that the nation could love watching andreading about rugby league
|Till we meet again...Aquila Emil's inlaws from Babaka village sing a last song of goodbye|