Noro tourists revive the spirit of the game and fond memories
BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II
REAL Kakamora FC is on Noro tour, and apart from reviving the spirit of soccer in that region of Western province, it is bringing back to light the long-standing history between the team and the province.
Several soccer greats of Western province played for Real Kakamora FC back in the days.
Most prominent include the likes of the late John Whitley, Donald Bennett and Nelson Boso.
The country is slowly coming through a scathing covid-clamped year, and such tours as the Real Kakamora FC is doing is seen as one of the flickers of a re-awakening in the country.
Domestic tourism is seeing a comeback. Real Kakamora’s tour is a boost to this end.
Speaking to Island Sun before departure last week, Team Manager local philanthropist Mr Robert Chow says the team has taken the leap of faith to tour Noro and surrounding communities, mainly to help revive soccer, but also to take the players to a different part of the country, see new places and experience different cultures.
“TSL has taken its mid-season break, and instead of letting the boys off back to Makira-Ulawa province for holidays we decided they deserved to be taken elsewhere, somewhere new to spend part of their break, so we chose Noro-Munda.
“Also, during our tour we would also get to see other events taking place there such as the Roviana-Munda Festival, maybe get a glimpse of a celebration of the province’s Second Appointed Day, and also the huge opening of the Tuna Park, which senior government figures will be taking part in.”
Mr Chow, talking to the paper last night, said so far the tour is making wonders. For his players, they are making new friends, share their soccer knowledge, creating network, and experiencing new places, faces and cultures.
For the team, they have met up with former Real Kakamora players as well as family members of former players who have passed away. Chow shares that it has truly been an emotional and remarkable time.
“It’s like a reunion and reliving stories of former Kakamora players who are from here, basically re-establishing the history that this province has with the Real Kakamora team.
“Donald Bennett used to play for Kakamora, he made it to the national team. He has also shared huge appreciation for this tour and made a memorable speech for the game with Central Roviana team on Saturday.
“Other prominent figures in Munda who played for Kakamora include the late John Whitley and Nelson Boso.”
Chow shares that the game on Saturday between Real Kakamora FC and Central Roviana FC at Dunde soccer field was dedicated to the late John Whitley, “so it was a tribute game to the late soccer great, Mr John Whitley”.
For the communities there, it is like a dream manifested, having a team from the huge league of the nation, the Telekom Soccer League, right at their doorsteps.
Many, Chow says, have come forward to express their ‘happiness and appreciation’ that a TSL team is touring their place.
“For many, they only hear of the TSL and teams on the radio, read about them in the paper, see it on social media, but now they are seeing one of the TSL teams walking around in their villages playing soccer with their boys and making friends, it is quite a big thing for them,” Chow shares.
The communities in Noro-Munda have been supportive to the team, many have come forth with food and drinks. The Makira-Noro community has been a huge support for the team.
There is also some talks of establishing a East-West connection in which exchange games between teams in the Western province and Makira-Ulawa province could happen in the near future. This initiative would also pave way for cultural exchanges too, Chow says.