The 18-year-old central defender Inoke Turagalailai is living heaven on earth. First the young player kicked the decisive penalty against Ba in the BOG‘s semi-final penalty shootout to seal his side Rewa spot in the traditional tournament grand final match, then he helped his team to clinch the competition tournament with an 1-0 win over Suva – to complete his dream moment, in the same week the player was called up by Fiji national team head coach Flemming Serritslev for an one-week training camp period.
“Winning my first title for Rewa, at this young age, it is a very good moment for me – getting all this exposue and confidence,” said the player in an exclusive interview to Oceania Football Center – “I was confident when I took that kick [penalty-kick against Ba]. It was a great moment for me,” added the central defender.
Turagalailai expressed his gratitute to Rewa’s management and staff for beliving his capabilities and call him up for the senior team: “I just thank the officials for believing in me and giving me chance to play in final match. When I entered the field I was confident that we were going to lift the trophy after 90 minutes of good football,” said the Rewa’s player.
In 2018, Turagalailai represented Fiji in the OFC U16 Championship alongside Josaia Sela – his teammated in 2018 and also now in 2020 season in Rewa. Both young players helped Fiji to reach the semi-final stage of that tournament. The partnership of both players come from a long period – unfortunately, Sela suffered a harsh injury in BOG’s semi-final match against Rewa just after scoring his side first goal in the clash. Sela was unable to return for the match; the player broke his shin and might be out of football for a long period: “we dedicated the win to our brother Josaia Sela. We played for him in the final,” expressed Turagalailai.
After winning his first major trophy in senior football, the young player was called up for a traning period with Fiji national team under the guidance of the new head coach Flemming Serritslev: “I will go to national team. I will be getting much exposure and confidence training with experienced players such as Roy Krishna and Setareki Hughes,” said the defender. “For me it is very good opportunity to train with someone like him – he is a professional player,” says Turagailalai when he reminds he will be training alongside a player of the caliber of Roy Krishna in the coming week.
Recently, in an interview to Oceania Football Center, Rewa’s head coach Marika Rodu said winning Battle of the Giants was a secondary goal for Rewa and their real aim was to win the Vodafone Premier League – what would be the first title ever for the Delta Tigers in the national league. “We are ready to start second round at our best. We are going to meet Ba in the first match,” said Turagalailai regarding the focus of Rewa for the season – “playing BOG was just setting our platform for the national league,” confirmed the player.
Turagalailai future is set to be bright – his very good start for Rewa in 2020 show his capabilities. The young player is already tasting his possibilities for a possible national team call up in a near future and certainly achieving his side Rewa’s main goal in the season can solidify his presence in the new team Flemming Serritslev is intending to bring up.