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Kinoya Rises Above The Dust Of The Past        

Kinoya Rises Above The Dust Of The Past        
Army player gets to feel the wrath of PAcific Energy Sea Eagles tackle. Photo:Jone Luvenitoga
June 11
14:41 2017

It has taken two generations to break a pact that had seen so many intelligent youths and their dreams of making it big get slaughtered by the whims of criminal masterminds who ruled with an iron fist.

And the third generation to finally bury the community’s talisman through a medium that is now turning the eyes of the world to what Fiji is offering through raw guts, speed and free running rugby.

The place is Kinoya and its youth who were once labelled among the most notorious and the most violent with the record breaking high crime rate has been redeemed through the love for sports.

Through the years, the reformative role that is reaching across this once no-go zone has turned the place around to becoming one of the power houses in the many sporting events youth members take part in.

With the new found dream, youth members are kept busy with their training schedules leaving no space for the order that once kept the place below police radar on most occasions.

Raising the torch of change, youth groups and team members within the various sports they represent are burning their balaclavas and mask, with it the old stories and relics of the community’s violent past.

It has torn down walls of an impenetrable code of silence and unyielding spirit that had corrupted the minds of its middle age groups for years.

Without a second thought, sports had melted the ice from their stone cold hearts that even the graffiti’s that expressed their struggles with its blood calling slogans no longer held its sway.

That in a way, the youths of Kinoya, like any other youth groups around the country are living testimonies to earmark sports, as a life changing model in today’s cry for a safe and crime-free community.

 

These are the same youths who once terrorised their surrounding communities and business houses.

Whatever the games, it is the love and pride of representing their community that knits them to every reformative plans in addressing negative issues that once plagued the community like an ancient curse.

But looking deeper into the abyss of all that Kinoya has offered, sports has done more than meets the eye with the most effective results witnessed among its youth like a stroke from a magic wand in a fairytale story.

Together with the ongoing Kinoya Old Boys Association, (K.O.B.A) founded by their older folks, residents are reaping the benefits through opportunities opening its doors to the youths of Kinoya, today.

Kinoya says, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro has seen a dramatic drop in crime since the founding of these two reformative bodies, K.O.B.A and the sporting arms for its youth.

“For the Kinoya area, a significant drop has been noted in serious crimes and this is largely due to the involvement of the community,” Naisoro said.

Sports, she added, is an avenue that the community policing unit is using and every afternoon you can see youths playing volleyball at the front of the Kinoya Community Post.

We, the police force Naisoro says, are also extremely fortunate that the community themselves have taken interest in fighting crime.

“An example is the Kinoya Old Boys Association who had been working with officers at the Kinoya Post to keep youths away from a life of crime to which we are truly appreciative of.

“We’re also working with other stakeholders such as the Fiji Sports Commission as we also have a concept called “Policing Fiji through sports” as this has been a successful way to keep youths away from a life of crime.”

It began in 2011, the zenith years of the community at the first meeting done at Savai Place.

The Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) says, 43-year-old Iliesa Soqe, coach of the Pacific Energy Kinoya Sea Eagles rugby league team, had approached him to form a team in his neighbourhood.

“Our first coffers were filled with coins and creamed with laughter from the first unemployed youths who were the pioneer members of the team,” Soqe said.

“But we had the support of FNRL and that helped us through our entrée into the game,” he said.

Without any choice, their venue of training had always been the same soapstone ground with its bruising surface at Velau Drive.

The team grew in numbers when they were joined by students representing their school in the Under-20 rugby competition.

The very same youths and students are now permanent members of the club as they play every Saturday in the Vodafone Cup competition.

Lacking flair and experience to match the giants of the game, Soqe says, his expectation wasn’t as high at the end of the first season in 2011, when the team surprised him.

“We lacked the experience and size was always a niggling thought I had about the boys.

“For the young team, who would look like David the shepherd boy faced Goliath throughout the season had taken the game to their hearts to claim the top four positions within the first year.

“We tasted our first glory in 2012 dethroning Nadi Eels in the grand finale by 32-18.”

They would become the first team, to be drafted into the then Top 8 competition. In their first season the Kinoya Sea Eagles maintained their hold despite the intensity of the competition. This they have maintained for the last six years.

“The success story of the Pacific Energy Kinoya team would be the dozens of doors that are now opening for the team members through jobs while some have crossed the oceans for greener pastures and are playing their rugby abroad.”

Add to that, he says, is the way, these boys are opening their hearts to any other reformative plans for development while their minds are only bound for greater heights.

For these reasons says, Pacific Energy retail manager and sponsor of the team Zachariah Yadah that his company has stepped in to assist the team financially.

“We took up the role as the team’s sponsors since 2014 and have spent a total of over $10, 000 on the team,” Yadah said.

Seeing the ruggedness and success of the team, he added other two companies, Farmers Fish & Chips and Joji Productions Design House have come onboard to sponsor the team with jerseys, tackle bags and other necessary items needed for the game.

“Joji Productions Design House has also designed a Facebook page for the team and continuously taken on the role as the team’s designer, whether it maybe a logo or the jerseys,” he said.

Since taking up the sponsorship role, unemployed team members have been employed at their two service stations, in Kinoya and Nabua.

“Women are also taken under our working schemes.”

It would be a far cry from the two past generations who first settled in Kinoya and created the first stories that gave the place its vibrant reputation from the early 1970s.

To regale a little on Kinoya’s sporting history, there isn’t much to tell except the violence that followed every game and Saturday meets at the Nasinu ground.

From the beginning, there was rugby, and then there was netball.

The only two games played by people entering the ground with hangovers.

A game of rugby that ended well would be labeled as the most boring game ever played in the team’s record.

Referees will have to find the fastest exit off the field after every game. They make the best punching bags for target practices of the young who are always waiting for a chance to go for their first brawl lessons.

Lessons of getting closer to your enemy without being detected until your punches land- the term used for such lessons is ‘one-side.’

If you thought the violence from Saturday’s game was something, the team talk and break-up parties will give you something to talk about for the rest of your life.

It is the place where old qualms and incomplete financial statements will be questioned.

The dissecting of the reports will always have its disastrous ending and will be accompanied with a drinking spree that will pour out onto the street and greet the Sunday worshippers before the 10am service.

It was a sight to watch seeing both players and officials bleeding. The women love it and the children grew with this legacy.

The last man standing would rise to claim the kingpin’s seat among his peers.

When they say, that it doesn’t take the arcon to fall far from the tree, the children will move on and rewrite their stories.

The same story that carved Kinoya’s past heroes is buried by the youths today.

The same youths who are now opening their hearts to any reform plans and Government initiative for change.

At the helm, stands a man, the team coach Soqe who is sharing his dream with the youths of Kinoya.

From the first meeting with the community’s unemployed youth in 2011, to the stage of their current unbeaten record games of season 7,.

This year, he would be old heirloom that spun every dusty straw into the most beautiful golden fibers in the fairy tale story of Rumpelstiltskin, the magical shoemaker.

 

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"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
Jasa Veremalua
Fiji Rugby 7s rep
June 2017
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