Beginning Not Easy: Naucikidi

‘I faced a lot of difficulties as president when we started in 2007’   It was not an easy beginning for the Telecom Fijiana side, says Fiji Women’s Rugby development
16 Dec 2015 13:38
Beginning Not Easy: Naucikidi
Players of the Telecom Fijiana Team Departing for Dubai yesterday morning at the Nadi International Airport. Photo: FARISHA AHMED.

‘I faced a lot of difficulties as president when we started in 2007’


It was not an easy beginning for the Telecom Fijiana side, says Fiji Women’s Rugby development officer Vela Naucikidi. She was reminiscing on the struggles Fiji Womens Rugby went through to get to where they were today.

“A big struggle for me was when I became women’s rugby president in 2007 reviving women’s rugby.

“The only team that was training that time was Sea Hawks coached by Elenoa Kunatuba and we started from there,” Naucikidi said.

The former sports journalist for Teivovo Magazine plays rugby for fun.

“I love rugby; I play just for fun and I also want to have a feel of wearing a rugby boot and writing a report as a reporter.

“I was glad to have worked with Jeremy Duxbury (former owner of Teivovo Magazine), who was always pushing for women’s rugby and at one time Teivovo office was also the women’s rugby office that was before it was accepted by Fiji Rugby Union,” she said.

The Tovulailai, Nairai native was selected to be Fiji Women’s Rugby president in 2007 and was also the year which women’s rugby faced a lot of financial challenges.

“It was a big struggle for me when I became president in 2007 when we revived women’s rugby; they invited me to the meeting and the girls were planning all along to select me as president.

“When I started there was nothing in the bank; in the same year we received a letter from World Rugby who were pushing rugby to be an Olympic sport and for rugby to be part of Olympics where both men and women would participate.

“It was World Rugby’s focus to include women in its development programme.”

Fiji Women’s Rugby had their first tour in Papua New Guinea in 2007 to participate in the Regional Satellite 7s where Fiji was represented by the Elenoa Kunatuba- coached Sea Hawks side and they won the 7s tournament .

“When we went to PNG that year, we had no financial support, limited resources but we won the tournament.

“It took a while for FRU to realise what I was trying to say from that time till now; our girls have now qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics,” Naucikidi added.

“When we went to PNG that year we had no allowance but we didn’t give up knowing we are going to get up there one day.”

Hats off to former Fijiana coach Elenoa Kunatuba, who has taught skills to most of the Fijiana players who are making the country proud today.  Kunatuba had guided the likes of captain Ana Maria Roqica, Rusila Nagasau, Esiteri Bulikiobo.

“These girls joined the sports and started with nothing and it was through the guidance of Kunatuba who taught the girls rugby.”



Naucikidi strongly believes in local talents.

“We have potential players in the country and I see no reason why we have to bring players from overseas,” she said.

“We need more funding and we are urging for more sponsorship.

“Fiji Rugby Union development Officers Alifereti Mocelutu and referee Joeli Tubu also deserve praise for the development programmes they are carrying out around Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

“There are some players out there in Vanua Levu right now and we want more funding to assist with women’s rugby.

“We want to have more game time now to increase our player base so we are asking for all 7s tournament organisers to include women in their tournaments.”

Edited by Manasa Kalouniviti



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