Feature

Single Mum, Former Dux Of Dravo Primary School, Tailevu, Grateful To Lead Bulikula

The 42-year-old, Naroi, Moala Lau native led the team against the Australian Jillaroos at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, yesterday.
12 Oct 2019 15:23
Single Mum, Former Dux Of Dravo Primary School, Tailevu, Grateful To Lead Bulikula
Josephine Maejiire in action for North Sydney Bears.

Juggling responsibilities as a single mother and having time for national duties is an honour for Fijian Bulikula captain, Josephine Bavatu- Maejiire.

For Majiire to represent and lead the Fijian Bulikula team is a dream come true as she is committed to uplift the performance of the team.

The 42-year-old, Naroi, Moala Lau native led the team against the Australian Jillaroos at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, yesterday.

Not only does she run her own business and professional job as a town planner she also balances her life as a mother raising four children, Raymond, Sweden, Marcya and Akuila, on her own.

Maejiire, who plays for North Sydney Bears, believes women should feel motivated to take up the sport professionally.

“You know being a woman you don’t have to play netball only, you can play rugby as well seeing women grow is a favourite memory of mine,” Maejiire said

“It’s an absolute honour and it’s unbelievable to lead the Bulikula team because it reflects back to all the hard work that I put and the fact that I value the nation’s call.

“I hold it close to my heart every time I pursue something big then it has to be playing for my country Fiji.

From left; Vodafone Fijian Bati head coach Brandon Costin (middle) and Josephine Maejiiire. (right

From left; Vodafone Fijian Bati head coach Brandon Costin (middle) and Josephine Maejiiire. (right

“I miss them (the kids), but they are all grown up now and they do understand the important of the job I have ahead of me but I juggle of those to come here and represent and lead my country is once –in- a-lifetime opportunity.

“To be honest I never thought I’ll reach to this point to be named captain. If you see my profile I’ve been always trying to pursue something for Fiji. This is a confirmation that if you keep trying and keep pushing you will get there.

“I want to make my country, family and people that I love proud. It’s not just a title for me, it is a national duty on and off the field.

“To captain the Fijian Bulikula team is amazing because I believe it’s my time and purpose to be here and lead these girls.”

The articulate fullback never imagined to pursue a career in sports as she was more academic-oriented.

“It was never ever in my thought as a young girl that I was going to be here. As a young girl I was good academically. Growing up in Fiji I was the dux at Dravo District School in Tailevu before I went to Australia to pursue my dreams,” Maejiira explained

Josephine Maejiirs celebrates after their 28-0 victory in the Women’s Pacific International Test Match against Papua New Guinea at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, Australia on June 22, 2019

Josephine Maejiirs celebrates after their 28-0 victory in the Women’s Pacific International Test Match against Papua New Guinea at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, Australia on June 22, 2019

“I’ve always wanted to be an academic. I have never thought to play rugby league back in the days. As a young kid I’ve always wanted to be a Prime Minister.

“I always believe that if you prepare yourself and take up opportunities you are always going to have success.

Players Welfare

Training with the Bulikula team at the Uprising Sports Centre in Pacific Harbour she is .proud of the fact that players’ welfare in the team is prioritised.

“I think it’s how they administrator the game. For league they look after the women, they look after the players’ welfare; they’ve got a good system in place where we women are looked after.

When asked about her chances of coaching the Bulikula in the future her response was nothing but positive and filled with confidence.

“I would love to coach the Bulikula if given a chance. I’m doing some local coaching in Australia. I want to grow the sport here at home,” she added

Bright Future

“We need to have a good local competition in place. The talent is here and the skills set that you have to teach in Australia is already here. So all we need is a system in place to put all these girls in that competition and enhance that technique and skills for rugby league,” she said.

“We really need to put money into the development starting from high school.”

Bulikula missing out on a spot at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, Bavatu is confident they are able to prove their worth.

“I believe this test match against Australia can put a step forward and be recognised by the rugby league world that we can also compete in the RLWC,” she said.

“We can prove to the world that we are also good at that level. We are looking forward to stamp our mark in the world stage.”

Josephine Maejiire.

Josephine Maejiire.

Edited by Osea Bola

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