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Bill in run for seat

Nasik Swami
Monday, June 30, 2014

FROM the confines of a small rugged rugby field in Lautoka with no more than a rugby ball to his name to starring in two rugby world cups, Viliame Satala has made achieving the dream of so many young Fijian boys a reality.

Having reached the pinnacle in international rugby and ranked besides the world's best in his heyday, the 41-year-old is ready to give it all back to them by running for Parliament.

His wish is to bring to the forefront what can be achieved through hard work and determination and, of course, the important lessons rugby can teach.

In an exclusive interview with Satala, dubbed The Stretcher by commentators for his hard-hitting tackles, the SODELPA candidate said that while education was important, there were still important lessons to be taught outside a classroom.

His own experience inspired him to join politics.

"My focus will also be on education," he said.

"I did not have the opportunity to get educated well but I want children and youths in the country to be educated."

"While sports is great as you can earn a good living for yourself, education is equally important."

Satala also said with all respect to other religions being practised in the country, he believed that Fiji should be a Christian State.

He said people needed God in their every day lives, saying Christianity was a part of Fiji's history and the vanua.

"When I was in the Fiji team, players going overseas were not just going to play. We also took our faith with us to whichever country that we went to.

"I believe Fiji was the first nation at that time, during the 1990s, to be doing that - praying in our rooms, before the game and after the game.

"After a few months, the boys realised the power of prayer and they used to ask me or Wise (Serevi) to pray. I am not educated but my belief in God has taken me abroad to play rugby. It is His blessing."

Satala believes that life would be good for a person if he/she has God's blessings.

He believes in SODELPA's manifesto because it is focused on developing the nation.

"I know that I have something to offer for the youths and for all people from all races in Fiji. One of my first aims is to approach youths. Some of us, especially me, I am not very educated and I come from a cane farming background," said Satala, who also speaks Hindi fluently.

"Fortunately, I also had a sports background as my uncles were in sports."

While sports is his strength, his experience of having travelled across the world plying his skills for Fiji and overseas clubs, taught him a lot of things that could be adopted at home.

"The way I look at myself is different. Although I am not educated, I feel like sports took me to another level."

He said having been offered limited access to education as a child, growing up taught him the value of it and of life's lessons.

Satala said he hoped to highlight these aspects of his life as a point of hope for other youngsters facing similar situations.

"I want to inspire young people by telling them that education is not the only way you can get to a higher level.

"I really want to be a role model for younger people and also show them that sports is also an avenue to create employment.

"Times have changed and as the country evolves, we need young people to come on board and assist in nation building.

"I think I have had influence with people in the communities and now I want to influence them and the youths in Parliament."

Satala also said there was a future for the younger generation in sports and he would not only concentrate on developing rugby but soccer and netball too if he became a parliamentarian.

"I hope people will love me and accept me as a politician."

The Namoli villager is confident of winning the election and becoming a parliamentarian come September 17.

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