Fiji U20 rep Naqiri makes granny proud

Fiji Rugby U20 rep Jone Naqiri with his family at Nausori International Airport yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

A BABY boy left in the care of his grandmother when the parents parted ways 20 years ago is today the pride of his family and a promising future Fijian rugby player.

Soft-spoken and shy Jone Naqiri, 20, of Wailevu Village, Waimaro, Naitasiri, is a typical iTaukei young man who will only speak when spoken to.

“He is always shy and prefers to be always by himself,” said Naqiri’s grandmother Keasi Lewanisalatu.

She braved the cold conditions yesterday morning from Wailevu Village to Nausori to farewell her grandson who travelled to New Zealand for the first time with the Fiji under-20 rugby team.

“This is the first time he will travel overseas and the first time in a plane,” Lewanisalatu said.

She hugged her grandson and shed tears as the boarding call sounded across the Nausori International Airport departure lounge.

“I raised him since he was nine-months-old. I provided everything I could for him. I did not know that one day he would become a Fiji rugby rep.

“He attended Nabukaluka District Schoool where he played in kaji rugby. He was not happy at Waidina Junior Secondary School because there was no rugby, so he attended Lelean Memorial School.

“I remember the day my daughter asked me to look after him after her husband left them. He did not deserve that treatment. Today he has made everyone proud and I pray that the Lord will protect him.

“If it was not for my grandmother, I would not be here. She is my light and mentor,” Naqiri said.

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