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Rotuman Sports

From Fiji Times Online (3 March 2008)

Eyes to nurture talents

by Otilly Rabuku

THE passion for netball is a familiar feeling that connects Lisa Faktaufon and Bernadette Ramafono-Daurewa.

They have both donned the Fiji netball bib and now share the dream of seeing more Rotuman girls follow into their footsteps.

Daurewa was a familiar face in the netball circles until she withdrew from international arena in January 2006.

Better known in the fraternity as "Bernie", the sturdy midcourt dweller was an exceptionally brilliant player and a role model for enthusiastic young netters.

The former Fiji utility who hails from Juju village in Rotuma spent 10 years playing on the national netball scene. She began to blossom in the sport while still a student at Adi Cakobau School.

Tall and talented Faktaufon followed her footstep and represented Fiji in the national under-21 team to the World Youth Championships in 2000.

The Motusa lass was a member of the Fiji under-17 team in 1998, captained the U-19 team in 1999 and was in Julie Hoornweg's training squad in 1999.

Dedicated to help develop netball in their community, the two Rotuman beauties have formed a club called 'Team Hanua' this year.

"It's a young team, of 30 plus young Rotuman women ranging from 13 to 20 years of age," Faktaufon said.

Team Hanua aims to develop, exposure and guide the young women, with potential to become excellent netball reps in future.

"We scouted these girls from last year's Rotuma games and seeing the potential we decided to nuture their takents to make it pay," Bernie said.

"The games are held in October and the competition level has improved over the years. With exposure of this team, the standard can be raised," she said.

"Most have played for one or the other of our three Suva-based Rotuman sports clubs in the Rotuma games Sarafui, Raisea and Satarua."

The Rotuma Games is an annual event many Rotumans look forward to, not only to socialise but to showcase the tremendous sporting potential that goes unnoticed. "It is something for them to look forward to and train for.These girls are raring to play club netball," Bernie said.

"We'll also focus on players' academic performance where they'll be encouraged to pusure academic excellence. There must be a balance between the two," Bernie said.

"By doing this, parents will be involved in monitoring their child's performance on and off court. It's a service to provide an opportunity for the unemployed to fill usefully invest in their time."

Both women were seasonal players for Nasinu Netball Association last season. But they believe the competitive environment and atmopshere in Suva club games will be a suitable breeding ground for the club members.

"Our joining the capital was a unanimous decision," Faktaufon said.

"We saw Suva had stronger competition and was well managed. So Bernie and I felt that developing these girls is a way we could give something back to our community," she said.

With the 2009 World Netball Youth Championships around the corner Bernie said getting the girls playing domestic competition is a good exposure.

"The strength of players is evenly distributed among the Suva clubs which makes competition even stronger," Bernie said.

She said if the team excels this season, they hope take the club on build-up tour around the country and then an overseas tour.

"The door is still open to young Rotuman girls interested to join ," she said.

Both enjoy the support of the Rotuman community which look forward to a flourishing season.

Rotuman women who stamped their mark in the national netball arena include Viki Tuxson (Fiji), Lavenia Panapasa, Seforosa Munivai (Fiji), Makarava Panapasa (Fiji U21), Wendy Munivai (Fiji U17), Sela Fatiaki (Fiji 19/21), Wila Nailatemate ( Fiji U17).