Straight from training a group of men came to the EM TV Office for a last-ditch effort, their smiles tell a story one of excitement, another of uncertainty.
They are rugby union players unsure if they will make it to Fiji, the unique thing about these men is that they are hearing impaired.
But they are proud Papua New Guineans they have been playing rugby union under the Papua New Guinea Deaf Rugby Association, in the National Capital District Rugby Union (NCDRU).
Their continued participation in rugby union has earned them the right to represent Papua New Guinea to compete at the Oceania Deaf Sevens in Lautoka, Fiji, from November 7th to 9th 2019. But funding is a struggle for the team, the team should have flown today to Fiji but unfortunately they could not.
Josh Yembo President of the PNG Deaf Association along with Noah Agino Interim President of PNG Deaf Rugby and the team captain Apo Yosman came in with their interpreter to tell their story.
They were hopping on sponsors to come through for them but to no avail, their last hope is this story.
Josh Yembo, cannot hear that well but he can speak and with the aid of an interpreter explaining to him the questions he understood and spoke in sign language this is what he had to say.
“We gave out proposals to companies but none have come forward to help sponsor us and today we came over to EMTV as a last resort to tell our story,” Josh Yembo said.
There is a total of 17 in their travelling contingent confirmed to travel and they need K62, 000 to travel.
“We are a total of 17 that want to travel to Fiji that’s 14 players, a coach and interpreter and a team official, but we need k60, 000,” Yembo added.
The team is made up of the deaf community in the city and the central province, they came together to play, and have found a common interest in the sport, they are no longer spectators but proud PNG representatives who are leading the charge of inclusivity in team sports.
“The National Government talks of inclusivity and we don’t want to be left behind, we are taking the lead for the hearing impaired to take part in rugby union,” Yembo said.
The players are hopeful that they can make the trip they have till Tuesday to find a sponsor and travel before the games start on Thursday in Fiji.
“The men’s and women’s national sevens teams have travelled already just us the deaf team left, Fiji Samoa and Papua New Guinea will take part in the deaf competition, we just need money for plane tickets food and accommodation will be provided,” Yembo said.
By Fidelis Sukina – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby