Can’t Keep Naomi Down!

Holding on to so many responsibilities at a young age of 25 has not been an easy experience for national women’s footballer Naomi Waqanidrola. She has been actively involved with
26 Jan 2019 09:43
Can’t Keep Naomi Down!
Naomi Waqanidrola

Holding on to so many responsibilities at a young age of 25 has not been an easy experience for national women’s footballer Naomi Waqanidrola. She has been actively involved with women’s football for the past  9 years.

Waqanidrola is not only the coach of the Rewa Women’s football side but also vice-president of the Rewa Football Association. She is the only female in the Rewa FA executive board. She works as a receptionist at the FASANOC office in Suva. Waqanidrola shares her life experiences to SUNsports yesterday highlighting some of her achievements and challenges faced.


1.Can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

“I wear so many hats. I started as a volunteer at FASANOC in 2015 where I became Voices of the Athletes champion (VOA). For that I had been doing outreach programmes with athletes regarding HIV and NCDs.

“And then the following year I went in as the lottery officer which is one of the major fundraising events for FASANOC.

“I did a bit for administration work for FASANOC while a senior officer was on maternity leave and through my involvement with FASANOC, they then took me in as a permanent staff.

“With work I still try to balance it with my football career. I started training with  Rewa in 2010 when I was first selected in the Under- 16 national trials. After that I joined the Rewa team and in 2011 was part of the national team that competed at the Pacific Games in New Caledonia.

“Then I represented the national side at the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea. And also I represented the national side in a couple of international matches.

And in 2017, I then competed again at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu and then followed by our last outing in the OFC World Cup qualifiers in Noumea, New Caledonia.”


2.What motivates you the most? What are you passionate about?  What are your personal goals?

“I think what motivates me is my family. Their support has been overwhelming and never ending. And off course my love for football has been there since childhood. And my future goal is one day coach the national women’s side.”


3.Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life?

“Women’s football head coach Marika Rodu had been one of the most influential people that have been guiding me throughout my sporting career. His teachings have always inspired me to work hard and keep striving for the best.

And not only that he continues to encourage me to take coaching courses which was organised by the Rewa Football Association so I attended few from which I got the recognition to start coaching my district.

“And also through my involvement with the district I was elected as the vice-president for the Rewa FA and the only female representative at the board too.”


4.Did you have any life-changing experiences and challenges that led you to be doing what you’re doing today?  Tell me about them.

“My greatest challenge would be trying to balance my work with my sporting life. It’s quite a challenge for me because being a national rep and coach for a club at the same time trying to keep up with the performance expected of me at work is not easy.

“One of the life changing experiences would be my involvement in the VOA programme where I got to represent Fiji at the Youth Leadership programme in Korea.

“It has really developed me as a person to become more vocal and open up to people because personally I’m a person who doesn’t like to be around people or talk much (more like self-centered).

“So through this programme I managed to become more vocal and able to represent at district and national level meetings.”


5.Take on ‘role of women in sports’

“Before the spotlight has always been on the men and there are so many women out there that hasn’t been able to reach out to these opportunities.

“So we’re trying to set the pathway for these women to take up leadership roles not just on the field but in the administration side of sports.

“Women’s contribution to sports is very vital and they need to be encouraged to take up roles in sports and change the typical mindset of man dominating key roles in any sports in general. I feel women have the ability to do as equal and better job than man if given the chance to.”

-Edited by Osea Bola


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