Rugby | SPORTS

Daniele Yaya: My Leap Of Faith

“I brushed if off, on that same night Tui Nasavusavu who was also there told me that nothing was impossible. That was just before the Wairiki sevens in 2019 – the next morning I asked my dad for my boat fare to Taveuni to join the Raiwasa team. That was a leap of faith, I serve a faithful God, all He wants is for us to avail ourselves and He would do the rest.”
18 Nov 2021 11:45
Daniele Yaya: My Leap Of Faith
Daniele Yaya prepares for the Dubai 7s with the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s squad. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Daniela Yaya would not be in the Dubai Sevens squad had he not taken that leap of faith two years ago.

“It was like a pact between me and my cousin Frank Lomani who is always encouraging me to get into a rugby club as that was the pathway to getting the white jersey,” Yaya said.

“The Nukubalavu Village (near Savusavu, province of Cakaudrove) is miles and miles away from the main rugby centre of Viti Levu,” he said.

Savusavu lad tells how the $15 he borrowed from his father helped shape his national 7s dream today.

 

“With Frank’s voice ringing in my ears and through the grapevine I heard the Raiwasa Taveuni team was taking in players to play sevens.”

I had graduated with my Certificate in Automotive Engineering from the Fiji National University, and as the only child, I returned to the village to help my parents.

“The boat fare from Savusavu to Taveuni is $20; my father (Petero Yaya) gave me $15.”

“Luckily, an uncle who is a taxi driver at Savusavu gave me $5 to complete my boat fare.”

 

“The next day I was in Taveuni, lucky me the team welcomed me.”

While watching the sevens team in action on television I told myself that I need not be watching others play for Fiji – I should be there playing for Fiji.

“As the only child, it was difficult for my mum Asinate (from Yaroi, Savusavu) to see me leave.”

 

Back in Nukubalavu congratulatory cheers echoed across the village green when his name was announced on Saturday night after the final leg of the Mobil Fiji Rugby Sevens series at the ANZ stadium.

For Yaya, the announcement was an emotional experience. Even after meeting Police Blues in the three of the four series finals he had his reservations.

“Back in Nukubalavu one evening during a grog session my uncle and father told me that my rugby career was over because of an injury on my knee,” the former St Bedes College student said.

 

“I brushed if off, on that same night Tui Nasavusavu who was also there told me that nothing was impossible.”

“That was just before the Wairiki sevens in 2019 – the next morning I asked my dad for my boat fare to Taveuni to join the Raiwasa team.”

“That was a leap of faith, I serve a faithful God, all He wants is for us to avail ourselves and He would do the rest.”

 

Yaya’s first leg of the Super sevens series was his first knock on the national 7s door.

“Frank and I always planned to play together at a Marist Sevens.”

He took the lead but I stayed to complete my studies,” he said.

 

“After scoring a last minute try during the quarter final and in the final last Saturday, I challenged myself to be a better player as I am determined to be a national sevens rep.

“I wish my parents were here in Suva – I dedicate this to them for all the sacrifices that they have done.”

Yaya and Lomani were triallists in the national Under-20 rugby team in 2016.

 

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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