The PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) has expressed shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Timothy Lepa early yesterday morning.
PNGRFL Chairman Sandis Tsaka said Lepa’s contribution to the development of Rugby League was ‘immense’.
“Timothy had rugby league in his veins,” Tsaka said. “He contributed immensely to the growth and development of the game over the past 30 years or so through his roles as
CEO of the most popular ‘off season’ rugby league competition – the Coca Cola Ipatas Cup – and as Head Coach of the EPG Enga Mioks.”
Tsaka said Lepa was often outspoken on his views on the game and his comments were always respected.
“For the good of the game, we often had constructive debates on many aspects of the game,” Tsaka said. “And I always respected his views and decisions.”
Tsaka extended his condolences on behalf of the PNGRFL family to his immediate family.
“It is very sad for me personally to pass our sincere condolences on behalf of the PNGRFL Board, CEO Reatau Rau and staff, the PNG Kumuls players and coaching staff,
PNGNRLC Chairman Adrian Chow and his staff, all Digicel Cup franchises and the rugby league family across PNG to his immediate families and relatives of the tragic passing of
Timothy Lepa. May he Rest in Eternal Peace.
Two prominent rugby league officials described late Timothy Lepa as a ‘great character’. PNG LNG Kumuls coach Michael Marum said Tim possessed ‘great character’.
“Tim was assistant coach when the Kumuls played Fiji in the Pacific Test last year in Sydney and his tireless contributions to the team were invaluable,” Marum said of Lepa
when hearing the news upon arrival from Brisbane this afternoon.
“We have been in touch regularly since then and we will all miss his great character in camp and on tour,” Marum said.
PNGNRLC Manager Stanley Hondina said Timothy was a character in the game. Last season, Lepa guided the Enga Mioks to the minor premiership but went down to Goroka Lahanis in the grand final.
“The loss in the game that mattered most did not faze him one bit,” Hondina said. “He was hurting inside but showed that great character he had by humbly accepting the loss,” Hondina said. “We will miss his contributions in particular to the players he nurtured in the Enga Mioks side.”
It has been reported that Timothy Lepa lost his life in a tragic motor vehicle accident around 1.30am this morning at the Markham plains while travelling to Lae from Goroka.
Further information and funeral details will be released as they come to hand.