Football | Rugby | SPORTS

Dual International

At the Women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, she was the Rooster Chicken Fijiana XVs first-choice lock forward and known as Merevesi Ofakimalino.
10 Nov 2022 13:59
Dual International
Merevesi Fuga (wearing yellow outfit) makes a save for the Digicel Fijian Kula in the Pacific Women’s Four Nations tournament Photo: Football Australia.

At the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, she was the Rooster Chicken Fijiana XVs first-choice lock forward and known as Merevesi Ofakimalino.

On Tuesday, under the name Merevesi Fuga, she played goalkeeper for the Digicel Fijian Kulas (national women’s football team) that beat Papua New Guinea 2-0 in the Pacific Women’s Four Nations tournament opener in Canberra, Australia.

This is the story of our Merevesi Fuga Ofakimalino.

In just a month, while the rest of the Fijiana XVs players taking a break after their World Cup exit, the 28-year-old has become a dual international.

The Pacific Four Nations tournament involves Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Australian Under-20, which are playing in a round robin tournament format over three match days.

Ofakimalino made superb saves and was instrumental in their 2-0 win against OFC Women’s Nations Cup champions, Papua New Guinea.

Fiji Football Association chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf yesterday praised the goalie for her dedication in football and rugby.

Merevesi Ofakimalino (with ball), aka Merevesi Fuga, playing as a lock forward for the Fijiana XVs rugby team to the women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Photo: FRU Media

Merevesi Ofakimalino (with ball), aka Merevesi Fuga, playing as a lock forward for the Fijiana XVs rugby team to the women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Photo: FRU Media

Yusuf indicated that Ofakimalino was initially named in the Kula squad for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, which was hosted in July.

However, she was unavailable because she was playing for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua that won the Super W title.

“She was playing for Rewa and was in the national women’s extended squad for the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa,” he said.

“She returned from the Women’s Rugby World Cup and declared her availability, so the coach selected her, she’s an athlete; she excels at what she is doing.

“It’s her call and choice.

We don’t want to tell her to only play football because she is interested in rugby as well.

She is now a dual international and we respect that It’s totally her call, if she wants to continue this way or concentrate on one game and go for overseas contract”

Fiji will play their second game against Australia U20 tomorrow, and their final match against Solomon Islands on Sunday.

The Kulas currently lead the points table.

Feedback: sereanasalalo@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Subscribe-to-Newspaper