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Fiji Bati inspiration

Paulini Ratulailai
Sunday, December 03, 2017

ASSISTANT Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana has named the Vodafone Fiji Bati as true warriors to Fijians during their homecoming celebration at Albert Park in Suva yesterday.

Delana said the Bati had been good role models, especially to young Fijians.

"Your achievements will last in many memories around Fiji, particularly your win against the mighty New Zealand," he said.

"The nation has been touched by Fiji Bati unity, commitment, graciousness and humility both on and off the field.

"Many were left in admiration while you sang our devotion Noqu Masu in innocence and harmony reflecting the brotherhood and the strong bond within the team.

"With you sang many Fijians and with you were many prayers. Many were heard singing in villages, in buses and in hospitals.

"You have left your mark on all Fijians and many more abroad. You have once again showcased to the rest of the world that Fiji creates a sense of belonging, no matter where you live in the world."

Delana added the team had made Fiji proud.

"That pride of our nation is a foundation stone. We have been delighted to be kept updated by the regular diary entries by none other than Eloni Vunakece and the videos shared by James Storer and the interview skills of Junior Roqica.

"You've made each of us cry at one point in time and there is no other way to describe Fijians better.

"We Fijians share each other's happiness and sorrows that make us unique and that what makes the Fiji Bati unique and a standout team during the tournament.

"We, the second nation to defeat a tier one nation at the Rugby League World Cup, and Jarryd Hayne said we slayed the giants.

"Our Fiji Bati team has originated the way for our youths and young children are gearing up to follow your footsteps.

"We as a small sporting nation continue to punch above our weight in our sporting events and I have no doubt that sooner we will sit on the podium."

The march from Suva Flea Market to Albert Park was cancelled because of heavy rain but that did not affect the fans as they came in numbers to greet the players.

Delana was the lone government minister in the celebration which was packed by children and members of the public.

Meanwhile, Tonga, which also beat New Zealand had a public holiday this week to honour their players.

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