By Grant Stantiall
It came as some shock and with much sadness from us all to learn of the passing of Commins Menapi on the 18th November 2017.
The Solomon Islander had been described as one of the best players of their “golden era” and he became just as popular and very well respected within New Zealand footballing circles.
Originally brought out to New Zealand by Nelson Suburbs for the 1999-2000 season, Commins made a name for himself at Youngheart Manawatu in the 2006/2007 NZFC season. His 12 goals for the Palmerston North-based side drove them into the Oceania Champions League.
It didn’t take long for other clubs to take notice and during that off-season, Waitakere United signed him and brought him north where he scored an incredible 21 goals in 39 appearances for the West Auckland powerhouse.
A strong, physical player Commins Menapi enjoyed a good footballing career, including a couple of seasons playing semi professionally for Sydney United. Internationally, he had a terrific scoring record for Solomon Islands. Over a 9 year period he scored 37 times in 34 appearances.
Of special note was the Oceania Nations Cup match in Adelaide in 2004 where Commins scored twice for the Solomon Islands in their drawn 2-2 match with Australia. That result eliminated New Zealand from the tournament.
From 2013, Commins was the manager of Telekom S-League side Western United and took them to their first title in the 2014/15 season.
He was a man with a huge smile. And he will be missed by all of us in the Oceania football community.
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.