Monday, March 24, 2008


The mere mention of his name makes people think rugby sevens rugby to be exact.
While many only know him as the coach of the Digicel-sponsored Fiji sevens team, Josateki Savou has been around long enough to read the game better than most people.
However, as far as his personal life goes, it is a guessing game for all those fanatics who expect him to deliver victory after victory.
The eldest of three children, Josateki was born in April, 1969.
Originally from Tovu, Totoya, in Lau, his father was a prison warden and his mother a nurse.
Born and bred in Suva, Josateki spent most of life growing up in prisons quarters at Korovou, Naboro and Ba.
The surprising thing about this rugby coach is that he played soccer before rugby.
Believe it or not, when his family lived in soccer-crazed Ba, he spent most of his time playing soccer with friends.
He was so good at it he seriously considered taking his soccer skills to a professional level.
He attended Ba Mission Primary School. In 1983 he attended Lelean Memorial School after his family moved back to Suva.
He completed Form Six vocational at Ratu Kadavulevu School.
During his last years in primary school and all through his high school days, Josateki's interest in rugby kicked in.
He has fond memories of growing up with his Fijian and Indian friends, saying he was always surrounded with a sporting atmosphere that prompted him to excel in sports.
"I had a normal upbringing, nothing out of the ordinary. My father is a retired prisons officer and my mother a retired nurse," he said.
"I used to play soccer a lot with my friends in Ba. At one stage of my life I was thinking of becoming a soccer rep because I had picked up some soccer skills while playing the game for fun. However, when I was in Class Eight, I started playing rugby and from then on until secondary school, I continued to play rugby.
"When I went to Lelean, I continued to play rugby and that continued when I attended RKS.
"The rugby atmosphere in high school made me want to achieve in this sport but I have never forgotten that at one stage I wanted to be a soccer rep.
"It was not difficult switching from soccer to rugby.
"It almost came naturally for me but I was always determined to achieve high results in whatever I did whether in sports or in my own personal life."
In 1988, he was selected in the Fiji Secondary Schools Under-19 rugby team that toured Australia.
He said the feeling of being selected into the team was indescribable.
Josateki said after his debut in the U19 team, he was invited to play on contract for a year for the Gold Coast rugby club in Brisbane, Australia, in 1989.
The following year, in 1990, he again played his rugby overseas, this time in Napier, New Zealand.
He returned to Fiji in 1991 after he was called to play for the Prisons Nabua team.
"Playing rugby overseas felt good.
"I was confident that my rugby career was going in the right direction.
"I felt happy and excited going to these places and the experiences and memories are opportunities never forgotten.
"It was my first time overseas and even though I enjoyed my time there, I missed home a lot especially my parents.
"The weather was cold and the environment was new for me but I learned a lot while I was there.
"Being selected in the Under 19 team was a dream come true.
"I had always wanted to don the white jersey and I eventually did.
"One piece of advice I can give people is never give up no matter what the obstacles.
"Always stay focused and work hard to achieve your goals.
"With determination and the right focus, you can succeed in anything," he said.

Adapated from Fijitimes Online