SPORTS

‘I Thought I Was Terminated’

“When Mr Naupoto asked me to meet him in the boardroom the first thing that came to mind was that I was going to be terminated,” Rabele told SUNsports yesterday.
25 Aug 2020 11:21
‘I Thought I Was Terminated’
From left: Fiji National Rugby League chairman Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and Josaia Rabele Dakuitoga at Richards Road, Suva on August 24,2020. Photo: Simione Haravanua

When Josaia Rabele Dakuitoga was summoned to meet Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) chairman Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, the last thing on his mind was that he was going to be the Vodafone Fijian Bati head coach.

“When Mr Naupoto asked me to meet him in the boardroom the first thing that came to mind was that I was going to be terminated,” Rabele told SUNsports yesterday.

“It was totally unexpected. When Mr Naupoto explained about my appointment and assured me the full backing of the board, we didn’t realise that we were in tears.”

Rabele said he was turning 55 in September and had been planning with his wife about his retirement from the sport.

“We were planning for me to take a break for a while before we worked together on a small business scheme.

“For me this year I was focusing on grassroot development and was waiting for September to arrive.

“When Mr Naupoto told me of the board’s decision, I realised that although we may have our plans, God has a bigger and better plan for us.”

Naupoto said they have put together a remuneration package for Rabele.

He also confirmed that Brandon Costin had resigned due to family reasons and thanked him for his contribution over the past 16 months.

“Rabele is our best man for job. He is a Level 3 coach, the highest in the country and that qualifies him for the job,” Naupoto said.

Rabele is going to be assisted by the following coaching staff (who are all locals) as they prepare the Bati to next year’s Rugby League World Cup in England;

  • Stephen Driscoll: Fitness and Conditioning Coach
  • Wes Naiqama: Bati Assistant Coach
  • Joe Saukuru: Bati Assistant Coach
  • Pastor Ilaitia Tagituimua: Bati Chaplain
  • Tevita Korosaya: Bati Manager

Rabele last coached the Fijian Bati at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup where they reached the semifinal for the first time.

World Cup preps

“I’m really honoured and happy for this appointment so it’s a blessing for me to be coaching another Fiji Bati to the World Cup.

“I would like to thank Brandon for all that he has done, so I have to continue from where he left off and the pathway he has created.”

Rabele said for the World Cup squad he was looking at our players playing at the National Rugby League (NRL).

“The rest of the players will come from the Kaiviti Silktails programme where our local players are playing in the Ron Massey Cup competition.

“I’ve been working with Wes Naiqama and we should be good once the competition gets underway.

“The first thing I will try and do now is to sit with the coaching staff and set a plan for our preparation especially for this year.

“We will try and work out some strategies that will help rugby league grow in the country.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



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