A huge showing from current and former Solomon Islands national team players were among the large numbers who attended the funeral service for former Bonitos striker Commins Menapi on Monday.
The 40-year-old, who scored over 30 goals in just under 40 matches for his country, passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning and is survived by his wife and four children.
Having enjoyed a long and prosperous career both as a footballer and coach, Menapi touched many lives across the Pacific from at home in Solomon Islands to Fiji, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia.
Solomon Islands Football Federation CEO Joseph Boso said Menapi will leave a lasting legacy in the Solomon Islands and Oceania.
“In the Pacific as well, Commins left his mark on the Australian football scene, in New Zealand and elsewhere so I think it is a good time for the Oceania football family to remember one of the greatest footballers to come from the Solomon Islands,” Boso said.
“Commins is very much an everyday figure in football in Solomon Islands – you cannot mention his name to people without them knowing his legacy and calibre as a player.
“I think he really made the mark for himself to be remembered for a long time especially with those two goals against Australia (in a 2-2 draw during the OFC Nations Cup).
“But in the local club scene he is a unique player who, for me, really embodies the football persona in terms of how he works hard and the discipline that goes into his training and his commitment with his clubs and also with the national team. And also behind his playing days he was still around trying to pass on his experience and his knowledge to the younger players.”
Boso said although Menapi had been unwell for sometime, they had thought he had gotten past the worst of it so his passing came as a shock to the local football community.
Menapi’s body was transported back to his home village in Temotu Province where he will be laid to rest.
Current national team player Micah Lea’alafa and Junior Houlawara recorded a cover of Go Rest High as a tribute to Commins Menapi.
You can listen here: