The senior hierarchy of the Fiji Police Force bid farewell to an officer who has been instrumental in the success of the Policing Fiji through Rugby community policing initiative.
Corporal Manasa Bari has been the coach of the Fiji Police 7s team since 2006 and under his guidance and leadership the team has become one of the most consistent and successful local 7s team.
The soft spoken officer from Tavualevu village in Tavua was farewelled last night by senior officers and members of the Police 7s team as he is scheduled to leave Fiji next week to join his family in Townsville, Australia.
Cprl Bari is well known for being a member of the victorious World Cup 7s team and one of the first Fijians to play in the early days of Super Rugby.
Under his leadership as the Fiji Police 7s coach he has contributed to the team’s success in the domestic 7s competition scene, with the wins resulting in two overseas tours to Samoa and Australia.
The success of the Police 7s team has also led to the inclusion of police officers in the national 7s team with the likes of Sailosi Rabo, Manu Lagai, Sakenasa Aca, Jo Ravouvou who is now with the All Blacks, Samisoni Viriviri, Joeli Lutumailagi and the two latest reps Paul Keponi and the sledgehammer Eroni Sau.
The Police teams’ success and the progression of officers for national duties has resulted in the success of the “Policing Fiji through Rugby” initiative whereby the officers would assist in community outreach programs to keep youths away from a life of crime.
Farewelling Cprl Bari on behalf of the Commissioner of Police was Assistant Commissioner of Police Luke Navela who said it will be extremely difficult to fill his shoes.
“The trophies in front of us are a testament of what your leadership has been able to achieve making our 7s team one to reckon with on the domestic 7s scene while a number of our own officers have proudly flown the Fiji Police flag while on national duties overseas”.
“We wish you and your family all the very best as you begin a new chapter of your life in Australia and know that you leave behind a legacy that has positively impacted not only the policing profession but members of the community who look up to our 7s stars as positive role models”.
Cprl Bari in acknowledging the gesture to accord him a farewell said he owed a lot to the Fiji Police Force.
“I will be forever grateful to the Fiji Police Force and there is nothing I can do to repay the organisation”.
“The opportunity I was given to be a member of the Force has enabled me to provide a better living for my family and my children have been able to get a good education all because I was given the golden opportunity to continue pursuing my passion for rugby in coaching the Police 7s team”.