Dakuitoga Awarded For His Service


Josaia Rabele Dakuitoga, otherwise known as “Joe Dakuitoga” is no stranger to Fijians who love the game of rugby league.

The Fiji Bati head coach represented Fiji in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup that was held the United Kingdom and joined international rugby league clubs during his playing days. Twenty-five years later, October, 2020, was extra special for Mr Dakuitoga because he was among 31 recipients of the commemorative medal for Fiji’s 50th independence anniversary awarded by the President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote at the State House.

Mr Dakuitoga said that he was surprised to receive a call informing him that he was being awarded with the medal for his long and dedicated service to the development of rugby league in the country. He was one of the pioneers of the sport in Fiji.

Mr Dakuitoga dedicated the medal to the men who have played a vital role in the progress of the sport.

“My former teammates in 1992, the late Etuate Waqa and the late Nemani Matirewa were players and we started rugby league together before we were banned for life from rugby union. The late Ilaisa Tagitupou and the late Peni Musunamasi were the reason why rugby league is alive in Fiji today because they believed Fijians represent the game of rugby league,” Mr Dakuitoga said.

When asked of the challenges faced in the early days of the sport, he said that financial restrains were the biggest factor they had faced for six years because there was no sponsorship for rugby league in Fiji. “Back then we did whatever we could because for the sport there was no financial support. But now with financial support, we have managed to keep the development of rugby league at a high level and we can say that development is going in the right direction.” Plans are also in place to extend rugby league awareness and development to the outer islands and rural areas.

Mr Dakuitoga said the Fiji Bati team’s goal is to reach the final of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and to win the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.