Netball | SPORTS

Lutua-Rusivakula Giving All For Fiji To Qualify

Fijian Pearls vice-captain Maria Josephine Lutua-Rusivakula knows the tough task that lies ahead of the Vodafone Oceania World Cup qualifier which started last night at the Vodafone Arena, Suva.
20 Jul 2022 16:48
Lutua-Rusivakula Giving All For Fiji To Qualify
Fiji Pearls captain and flag bearer Alisi Naqiri leading the team during the official opening of the Vodafone Oceania World Cup qualifier on July 19, 2022. Photo: Netball Fiji

Fijian Pearls vice-captain Maria Josephine Lutua-Ru­sivakula knows the tough task that lies ahead of the Voda­fone Oceania World Cup quali­fier which started last night at the Vodafone Arena, Suva.

The 32-year-old shooter who has had 67 test caps for the Pearls since her international debut in 2009, fea­tured at the last two World Cups.

She is honoured to be called back into the team to help qualify Fiji for next year’s World Cup in capr Town, South Africa.

She now resides in England with her husband, Rusivai Rusivakula, and their four-year-old son after they married in 2017.

“It’s absolutely an honour to be back in the squad. I have been away for a long time and it’s good to be called back to represent the coun­try,” the Nakama, Macuata native said.

“The girls have been welcoming when we got back into the squad.

“We have got some really young and strong athletes, we have got some experienced ones as well in this group of netball players.

“We have got a good combination and it’s good to be back with the group.

“The WC qualifier is always a dif­ferent competition and a different level altogether. All the teams are prepared.

“We can’t rule out any team out, we know Tonga, is coming out as one of the top favourites but in say­ing that I know the team have been preparing well for this.

“We’ve put in all our resources into this training programme and training camp, we’re expecting eve­ryone to come out strong because it is the World Cup qualifiers.”

The Pearls started their campaign against Papua New Guinea last night winning 74-32.

“I’m really excited, a lot of them we have been training together since the beginning of the year. We have ben gelling in well, the com­bination has been really working well,” Rusivakula said.

“It is exciting for Fiji netball as a whole to be brining international competition back into the country; it has been a long time since Fiji hosted an international event.”

The top two teams will each earn a World Cup spot.

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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