The Oceania football community is in mourning today following the shock loss of former Solomon Islands footballer Commins Menapi who passed away in Honiara overnight.
The 40-year-old former striker had a long club career stretching across Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Australia and an international record which saw him score over 30 goals in just under 40 matches for his country.
OFC President David Chung said learning of Menapi’s passing hit the Oceania community hard.
“What Commins achieved as a footballer from the Solomon Islands during his time was impressive and helped carve a pathway for others.
“The pride he felt for his nation was evident on the field, and later off it as he sought to give back to the community through coaching.
“It is a hugely sad loss for the Solomon Islands and Oceania football communities and my thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.”
Menapi’s impact on the international scene is best remembered for the two goals he scored for his country against Australia in a sensational 2-2 draw in 2004. The OFC Nations Cup group match was the only game Australia didn’t win and the result also ensured Solomon Islands progressed to the next round.
Since hanging up his boots, Menapi continued to give back to the Solomon Islands football community through coaching.
Menapi has led Western United to domestic titles and some impressive performances at the OFC Champions League.
He remained on the international scene in a coaching capacity, leading the 2014 U-20 team in Fiji and serving as assistant coach to Pedro Mateo in the 2016 OFC U-20 Championship campaign in Vanuatu.
Just last month Menapi was one of the participating coaches on the first OFC B Licence to be held in Solomon Islands.
Having given so much to the Solomon Islands football community as both a player and coach, Menapi’s passing will be keenly felt.