SPORTS

Waqaliti Tells: Don’t Ever Give Up

Her work involves training and coaching goalkeepers from primary, secondary schools, district as well as national teams.
07 Jun 2020 12:43
Waqaliti Tells: Don’t Ever Give Up
Lice Waqailiti in action during the OFCGoalkeeping C Licence Coaching course conducted at the Fiji Football academy in Ba last year.Photo: FFA Media

Not only she is Fiji’s first female licensed goalkeeper instructor, she is the Oceania region’s first too.

She was a Fiji Football Association (FFA) women development officer before she became the national goalkeeper instructor earlier this year.

Her work involves training and coaching goalkeepers from primary, secondary schools, district as well as national teams.

Lice Waqaliti, 32, did not lose hope seeing herself among the 19 male participants at the instructors’ course in Auckland, New Zealand in 2019.

“Out of the 20 participants in Auckland, I was the only female. We had reps from other countries in the Pacific.

“To me it was a challenge, but I did not want to lose hope.

“Even though I was the only female, I contributed in discussions, group work so that I could get to know them as well.”

Lice Waqaliti at work at the Fiji Football Association headquarters at Vatuwaqa, Suva on June 5, 2020.Photo: Sereana Salalo

Lice Waqaliti at work at the Fiji Football Association headquarters at Vatuwaqa, Suva on June 5, 2020.Photo: Sereana Salalo

She urges fellow women to do the same and not belittle themselves.

The Drekeniwai, Navatu, Cakaudrove native took up the sport when she was 15.

She first played football at Jasper Williams High School in 2006.

A year later Waqaliti represented Fiji to the 2007 Pacific Games in Samoa.

She also took part at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia.

“We had to make up a team for the schools competition in 2006, since most of my friends were playing football, I decided to join,” she said.

“But it is different when you play and become a coach or instructor. It is easy to be a coach when you have experienced being a goalkeeper because you know what it likes to be on the field,” she said.

“All this was through dedication, sacrifice and determination and hard work as well.

“When you want to achieve something, you need to work hard to achieve it.

“Most of the sports are dominated by men but it should not make women lose hope as we can do better than them.

“I think women are doing better than men in football in Fiji as far as ranking is concerned.”

She wants women not to give up on their dreams.

“Work hard towards your goal, there would be obstacles along the way. It should be a challenge for you but keep striving to excel and keep going for gold,” she said.

“It is also about sacrifice.”

She acknowledged the mentorship of former New Zealand goalkeeper and Oceania Football Confederation instructor James Bannatyne.

“He was the one who inspired me in attending coaching courses for goalkeeping.”

Waqaliti’s grandmother, Maggie Magdalene, who is 92 years old, always supports her.

She cannot wait to resume her work when sports get back to normal.

She believes she has an enormous task and responsibility, being the only person in charge of North, West and South districts.

The mother of twins says managing time wisely is something that helps her balance work and family time.

“When we organise and manage our time well, we are able to achieve what we need to do every day.”

One of her achievements was guiding female goalkeepers receive the Golden Gloves Award at the OFC playoffs for three years in-a-row.

“I coached the late Francine Lockington who won it in 2016 and Ateca Tuwai in 2017 and 2018.”

Waqaliti aims to improve the results for the district and national goal keepers and help develop younger players from the grassroots.

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj

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