Vugakoto applauds Baby Pearls performance

SUVA Netball Association president and former national netball rep Vasiti Vugakoto has applauded the performance of the Fiji under-21 side in the World Youth Championship in Botswana.

Vugakoto said the team had the height on both sides, in defence where captain Episake Kahatoka is the goal keeper, and also in attack where Lydia Panapasa is the goal shooter.

Vugakoto said netball had come to a stage where height played a major role in the game.

“We know now that we’re on track and despite the fact that coach Vicki Wilson was not around much with the girls but they have come out to perform and show what is expected from them,” Vugakoto said.

“That just shows the depth of talent that we have in our team and in Fiji.

“Imagine if she was here with the girls full time in the period of their preparation, it would have been another story but seeing the girls perform I could say this is natural talent.”

Originally from Batiki Lomaiviti and maternal links to Tubou Lakeba Lau, Vugakoto made her debut for the national netball team as a 16-year-old in 1986 and is a three-time Pacific Games gold medallist.

“Beating those two teams in the youth category shows the amount of exposure and talent that we have and we could have done better. This is natural talent connected with teamwork and unity that’s how you will win.”

It was in 1985 when a 15-year-old Vugakoto represented Fiji in volleyball against a visiting Japanese team.

A year later, she made her debut for the national netball team in the 7th World Netball Championship held in Scotland.

She retired from national netball duties in 2003 after the WNC in Jamaica but still plays competitive netball at club level.

Vugakoto played for the national women’s basketball team during the 1997 Mini Pacific Games in American Samoa.

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