SPORTS

Who’s Sireli Maqala?

Rising 7s star’s parents tell of their son’ journey
01 Aug 2021 10:43
Who’s Sireli Maqala?
Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens players Sireli Maqala (left) and Kitione Taliga at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau on July 30, 2021. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

He has been the talk of the nation. Sireli Maqala, our latest sensation from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

Maqala, was one of the stars of the Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens team that won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Japan, on Wednesday night.

Originally from the village of Delaiyadua in Burewai, Nakorotubu in Ra, Maqala was born and bred in Labasa.

This was revealed to SUNsports on Thursday night by his parents Sisa and Rosa Ramuadrau.

“We believe God is the reason behind Sireli’s fine performance at the Olympics,” said his dad Sisa.

“He is the youngest of our three children and was born in Labasa. He attended Bethel Primary School, Guru Nanak Primary School, All Saints Secondary before moving to Ratu Kadavulevu School.”

Sireli Maqala’s parents Sisa and Rosa Ramuadrau in Labasa on July 29, 2021. Photo: Laisa Lui

Sireli Maqala’s parents Sisa and Rosa Ramuadrau in Labasa on July 29, 2021.
Photo: Laisa Lui

Maqala’s mum Rosa who hails from Kilaka in Kubulau, Bua, said her son played rugby and soccer while in primary school.

Career

Maqala passed his Year 13 exams and was enrolled at the University of the South Pacific to study Land Management.

This did not eventuate and it did not go down well with his parents.

“We had paid his fees for the first semester at USP so we called him over to discuss with us of what he wanted to do in the future.

“It was there it became evident to us that Sireli wanted to play rugby,” said Sisa who works at the Laundry department of the Labasa Hospital while Rosa is based at the North Health office.

Maqala, while on his way to Tokyo, had signed a contract with French club Bayonne but will be joining them in September.

At the moment they are sorting out his release

Serious injuries

At first things did not look good for Maqala, as he suffered two serious injuries, which could have ended his rugby career.

Sisa said in 2019 while playing for Nabua Rugby under coach, Tomasi Cama (Snr), Maqala broke his right arm in a match against Army.

“He recovered and later made the Fijian Under-20 side to play in Argentina but the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19,” his dad said.

“The team continued on with their training and played against an Australian visiting team in February, 2020 where this time Sireli fractured his left leg into three segments.

“With the assistance from the Fijian under-20 coaches of Kele Leawere, Bill Nadolo and Ifereimi Rawaqa, they insisted in taking care of his medical treatment which approved.

“We went to Suva for his surgery where they inserted a screw on the ankle to hold the fractured fibula bone.

“The doctor told us that Sireli’s rugby days were over since he cannot play anymore.”

Rosa said as parents they did not allow that message from the doctors to affect their son.

“We encouraged Sireli and told him that God will heal him. If you really want to play and if it is God’s purpose, he will heal you.”

Just before the COVID-19 lockdown, they asked Maqala to return home and stay with them.

“I couldn’t see my son being assisted while getting off the plane.

“We had to put our faith in God to heal our son as his passion was to play rugby.

“When we go to work we always tell Sireli to help himself and keep communicating with God, if he wants to play again.

“That was our routine for the next three months and also we brought home a specialist to help Sireli in his rehab.”

On June 1, last year, Maqala defied all odds and flew back to Suva and reported to the Fiji Rugby Union office as he was still in the Fiji U20 squad.

Divine intervention

Rosa said after the Olympic Games win in Tokyo, Maqala called them on Thursday telling them that they were on their way to the airport.

“It’s 3am and they have not slept as they were still excited and reeling from the win. We told him that we will speak to him after they land in Nadi.

Before they left for the Olympics, Sisa had three visions of Fiji winning the gold medal.

“Throughout their games we were rest assured of the win as God had revealed it to us.

“We were confident that God had placed our son there for a reason.

“All the tough things we had to go through before something better happens.

“When Sireli was named as the 13th player, his dad asked him if he wanted to play and he said yes before they prayed over it.

“Then his dad reassured him and told him that he will not only play but also bring home the gold medal.”

Rosa said they always reiterate to Maqala the importance of having his personnel time with God because that is the secret behind his success.

“While in Townsville and in Tokyo we called him every day to show our support and offer our advice.

“Always reminding him of his quiet time with the Lord. He has to be the first one to wake-up and be praying for the team and also be the last one to sleep after saying his prayers.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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