Radrigai’s rise to the call of duty

Dave Radrigai in action. Picture: ANUSHIL KUMAR

Dave Radrigai in action. Picture: ANUSHIL KUMAR

“YOU will never do a whole lot unless you are brave enough to try.”

This inspirational cliché from American musician Dolly Parton has indeed turned out to be a motivation for the Lautoka midfielder and paved the way to his football success.

The picture of becoming a household name in football was in Navai Village in the interior of Viti Levu, where it all started for Dave Radrigai.

Radrigai said when he was small, he watched the village boys play football and he used to get impatient seeing them playing.

“When I was a child, I saw my village boys playing and automatically my legs became impatient.

“I hesitated at first as I thought I would injure myself playing with those grown up children. But then I thought I had to start somewhere if I really wanted to involve myself in football — I ended up playing with them.

“From then, I started enjoying each and every day I played football with my friends back in the village,” he said.

The 30-year-old said that had set a platform for him and his interest towards football rapidly grew.

His family then moved to Lautoka which saw him attending Vaivai Primary School for his primary education and Lautoka Andhra Sangam College for his secondary education.

“When my interest started growing, I started training in the school team and got selected.

“I never stepped back from football and my commitment during the training sessions got me into the secondary school team where I got selected to represent Lautoka youth.

“While playing for the youth team, the coaching staff saw my talent and picked me to be part of the Lautoka district team.”

In 2009, when Radrigai was selected to feature for the Lautoka district team against Ba in the national league encounter, he realised that football would take him ahead.

“There’s no football player in my family to give advice so when I come to play, I just listen to what the coaches say and that has taken me to where I am right now.”

It was only after the arrival of Vodafone National Football head coach Christophe Gamel that Radrigai got a call of duty to represent the country.

“When Chris (Christophe Gamel) started coaching the national team and he was going around looking for talents and that was when I got the first call for national duties.

“Previously I went on trials with other coaches, but they dropped me.”

He is indebted to coach Gamel for upskilling his talents to be a national team material.

“Our coach (Gamel) has taught us a lot of things even from the smallest tips wherever possible.

“Playing among the senior players in the team helps me gain more experience.”

Radrigai and his defensive partner Kavaia Rawaqa are known to form deadly combination playing for both Lautoka and the national team.

And for the secret in making this deadly combination, he said: “It’s all about talking in the field and knowing each other how we play and that’s how our combination became stronger.”

The 2017 Vodafone Premier League player of the year left a message for his fellow footballers.

“Keep training hard and believe in yourself that you can go better and better as each day.”

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