Faith, Dedication Takes Waqa To World Cup


It is with great faith and dedication, a 10-year-long journey of hope is finally coming to fruition for a Year 12 student of Adi Cakobau School. Seventeen-year-old Laisani Waqa is the youngest squad member of the Fiji Netball team selected to contest in the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, from July 12-21.

Speaking at the iTatau event recently, Ms Waqa expressed her excitement at being lucky enough to be chosen to represent Fiji at a global stage.

“It was my mom’s unrelenting encouragement for me to play netball since I was seven years-old and her strong faith which pushed me to try out for the team,” the Kadavu lass relayed.

“I am nervous and excited to play against well-known players who are world champions but I am also looking forward to meeting the challenge.”

The Fiji Pearls member said the training sessions had been demanding but she was grateful for the support of her team mates who had been really helpful.

“With being away from home, I intend to keep up with my fitness regime and ensure that I maintain my diet plan on this trip and learn a lot from the teams I will be playing against so I can incorporate that experience in my future games,” Ms Waqa said.

“I hope to get more experience as I continue to play so I get a spot to take part in the next Netball World Youth Cup games to be held in Fiji in 2021.” Fiji Netball Association president, Wainikiti Bogidrau said the athletes were chosen after undergoing an intensive training program six months ago.

“They have undergone strength and conditioning, mental/ spiritual counselling together with physical training and netball coaching,” she said.

“We know that this team can be formidable - in the next four-years and the next world cup – and we know if we nurture them well and continue to invest in them then we will have a really great team.”

The President, Major-General (retired) Jioji Konrote encouraged the Fiji Pearls team to learn as much as they can, respect their opponents and be thankful and humble in victory – and also be gracious in defeat.

“Netball like rugby requires team work and an unshakable passion to win – a team journey where you will be expected to play as a team and at the same time, collectively or on your own – to make good sports men and women for our beloved Fiji.”

The Fiji Pearls, unfortunately, lost all the three pool games played against tough teams like Jamaica, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.