Ratu Filimoni Mataitoga, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Suva Under-20 Rugby team this season, is striving to become the best in rugby for his mother, Akanisi Mataitoga.
The 18-year-old is the younger brother of former Fiji representative player Kelepi Mataitoga, who was raised by his mother alone after his father died when he was three.
Mataitoga realized his passion for rugby at the age of five and chose to attend Cuvu College in high school to get exposure to the rugby province of Nadroga. This meant being away from his mother in Suva.
However, the distance did not stop Akanisi from supporting his son’s rugby dreams. Then, Matatoga made the bold decision to leave school to become a full-time rugby player.
“My mom was my biggest support system,” Mateytoga said.” She always advised me to align my goals, knew my priorities, and always put God first. My father died when I was very young, so it was my mom who took care of me and my brothers. I really didn’t have to take care of myself.”” I did well in school so my mom told me to do everything I could to pursue my dream of playing rugby because now it’s my source of income.”
“I am the younger of two siblings and my older brother Kelepi Matetoga put on the white jersey a few years ago. We all work hard to keep our family name alive and make our mom proud. We want to make sure that all her struggles and efforts are not in vain, so everything we do is to make her proud,” he added.
Matetoga was scouted by the Suva Rugby Union selectors after impressing for Kadavu Rugby in the Koroturaga Cup. His dedication and commitment did not go unnoticed as he won the MVP award for that season.
“Winning this award was a motivating factor for me,” Matetoga said.” A lot of opportunities have arisen since I joined the Suva rugby team and I knew I had to play my part to reach the expected level of rugby. There are a lot of opportunities there but I hold the key, so like my mom says, just keep training, give it your all and follow the rules and it will all come naturally.”
“This award is dedicated to my mother who raised me and the very few members of my family who have always supported me in the game of rugby,” he added.