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Bati ready to rumble

The Fiji Batis are gearing up to meet the Cook Islands Aitu on Sunday, October 22, as the two teams lock heads to clash in week two (2) of the Pacific Championships at Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

The Batis have arrived in the country last weekend. They have held their training sessions in the last couple of days. The players have bonded well and acclimatized themselves to the scorching Port Moresby weather.

“So far, our preparation as a group is going really well. As you see, we have a very young squad. I’m grateful that we got the likes of Tui Kamikamica, Maika Sivo, Mikaele Ravalawa, Blake Waqa, and Brendon Wakeham, to name a few.

“Port Moresby reminds us of Fiji. The boys are enjoying the weather because they are Fijians. We have similar weather back home. We encourage the players to enjoy and have fun,” coach Wise Kativerata said.

The Fijian outfit is made up of big name NRL stars and a couple of talented young guns. The Batis boast a mixture of seasoned campaigners and youthful exuberance. They brought together these youngsters to prepare them for the 2026 Rugby League World Cup.

“We have nine debutants. We purposely selected these young players because we have World Cup in 2026, so we need to build something now and in the next few years leading up to the World Cup.

“Our core never changes. We put God first, family and footy. If you believe and stay together like the Batis, then the results will come out,” he added.

Kativerata took over the reins from Joe Rabele, who was hospitalized before the start of the 2022 World Cup last year. Kativerata, a former Bati, who has less than five international coaching experience under his belt is looking forward to the challenge.

“This is my first gig as Fiji Bati head coach. Last year, I took over from Rabele because he was sick and they called me in to replace him as an interim coach. I was lucky enough to apply for the job and they gave it to me.

“I am ready to lead the boys against Cook Islands and PNG Kumuls. We like to keep things simple. Our main focus is our team. We are not worried about Cook Islands and PNG. We are not here to make up the numbers. We want to leave the Pacific Championships on a high note. We want to build from here leading towards the 2026 World Cup.”

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