Skipper Cup

Naitasiri’s Time Is Now

It has been a long battle all along and hopefully we can clinch the title this Saturday-Sireli Kaloucava.
12 Nov 2020 14:35
Naitasiri’s Time Is Now
Naitasiri flanker Anasa Qaranivalu (left) wins a line-out throw against teammate Tomasi Naiduki during the team’s training at Suva’s Bidesi Park, Laucala Bay, on November 11, 2020. Photo: Naitasiri Rugby

QAQA Naitasiri’s No.8/captain, Sireli Kaloucava, looks forward to his first Skipper Cup Premiership title in his five years of captaincy.

The Nakorosule, Nagonenicolo, Naitasiri, native, who started playing for the Highlanders as a 19- year old and continued for 12 years, hopes the team will win against Suva on Saturday.

He said Naitasiri comprised players who were 25 years or younger. The only veteran players, including him, are Necani Nawaqadau and Joe Veitayaki.

“It has been a long battle all along and hopefully we can clinch it this Saturday,” Kaloucava said.

And being the most capped player for the Highlanders, he acknowledged his young side for a keeping up with the game in the past weeks.

“There is so much development and many young boys in the squad now but they listen and willing to learn. They grip rugby tactics well and fast,” he said.

“And I know they will have a long way to go, because they listened.

“This is the first time for most of them to play in the Skipper Cup Premiership and to reach the final.”

With 14 years of continuous rugby, the 32-year-old police officer has no plans of hanging up his boots.

“Rugby has done a lot of things for me. It gave an employment, disciplined me and it helped me to be kind especially towards my teammates and the younger players.

“I still have a long way to go. Still have a few more years to still wear this jersey. And I love playing among the young players.

“I think there are only three or four of us who are older players. The rest are 25 years or below the youngest Vuate Karawalevu is 19.

“I’ve achieved my personal goal of playing overseas. I played in New Zealand for a year for the Paroa Rugby Club and we won our provincial comp that year.

“I was fortunate to be in the Bay of Plenty squad in the same year to play in the Mitre 10 competition.”

He returned in 2016 and captained the Fiji Police Force team that won the Sukuna Bowl. And all he has achieved through rugby would not be possible without God, Kalounicava emphasised.

“If it was not for God I would have not come this far. I would like to thank the Almighty, my family, the supporters of Naitasiri who were always supporting us.”

He was playing for Natasiri while coach, Dr Ilaitia Tuisese Jnr,   was their team doctor.

And he still plays now when Tuisese Jnr took up the role as head coach last year.

“I started playing in the Under-19 in 2006, and then joined the Under-21 in 2007,” he said.

“In 2009, we reached the semifinals, and won the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy against Nadi, but lost it to Nadroga in the last challenge.

“I went to play for Suva in 2010, where we lost to Naitaisiri in the then Digicel Cup. I was happy that my province won.”

He joined Naitasiri again the following year and his last final was against Nadroga in 2012 and 2014.

He has been proudly representing his province ever since.

“We thank our families, we have been away from them for some time due to rugby training and preparations. And to the province and vanua of Naitasiri.

“I told the boys that we should respect Suva. They are a champion team. We do not underestimate them. We look up to them as champions for two years. And we work hard towards their level.

“We do our work and pray hard, and keep looking high and keep moving forward. My advice to the young kids out there: Do not rely on mankind for strength, but God.”

Suva takes on Naitasiri at 6pm at the ANZ Stadium, Suva. In the U19 grade, Namosi faces Nadroga at 4pm while Lautoka women will play Naitasiri at 2pm.

Edited by Osea Bola




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