The Papua New Guinea men’s volleyball team has dedicated their winning drive at the Pacific Games to their team captain who passed away last Tuesday, as the team were making final preparations for travel to Samoa.
The XIV Pacific Games was to be the 5th for the late 36-year-old captain, Ravu Mahuru.
The PNG team will honour the memory of the late team leader and oldest playing volleyball player in the Pacific, with a minute of silence before their first scheduled game this week.
Head Coach, Patrick Morea told Newsline Samoa while his team was in training practice at the NUS gym yesterday, the players are trying to build up confidence again after the passing.
“The loss of our captain is a big blow for our team. Mahuru was one of the successful captains in our sport.” Coach Morea said.
“He was with our team when we won silver medal in 2010, bronze in New Caledonia in 2011 and gold medal 2013.”
“This was supposed to be his last Pacific Games before he finally retires, but we will not get to celebrate that moment as we no longer have him to lead our team.
“We were looking forward to these Games before he retires, and to our new players, it is quite a challenge losing him this close to competition.”
Morea said that the team has been trying to adjust to the sports venue at NUS.
“This is one of the challenges for our team, back home, we have a very huge facility, here it is very small but we are adjusting well and we will go for a medal no matter what color, we will try to win any medal.
“Our late captain will be in our minds when we face the real challenge on the courts.”
Morea is wary of teams from New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna.
Two of their last remaining veteran players have now been selected to lead the team as captain and vice captain.
The two players were part of the PNG team to the 2013 mini Games where they snatched up gold under the lead of the late Mahuru.