The National, Wednesday 28th December 2011
FORMER Hekari United player Isoa Donaldson has returned to rejoin rugby union after he was selected in the Fiji side to play in home-and-away matches with PNG early next year.
Donaldson, who is a nephew of Hekari United trainer Sailosi Druma joined Hekari during the start of the National Soccer League and O-League season.
The towering fullback, who switched to playing rugby after he failed to make the Nadi district soccer team two years ago, was in the Hekari United squad playing in the O-League.
Donaldson is one of the four Fijians in the PNG champion club.
Donaldson, who is a defender for Hekari United, played for the Nadi rugby team for four seasons, including this year, after he had also tried to get into the Nadi soccer team.
He was recruited by Hekari United this year and played in the first three rounds of the O-League over the past two months.
He had also played for the Western Crusaders franchise competition in 2008.
The winger-cum-fullback is back in Nadi for a break and will rejoin the Nadi provincial rugby squad preparing for the next season.
Nadi rugby president Ponijese Rayasi said recently that Donaldson was back in the jet-set town and training with the Nadi squad.
“He is back here now after spending a few weeks in Papua New Guinea where he was playing soccer,” Rayasi said.
“He played for Nadi this year and is in the current training squad.”
Rayasi said Donaldson was here on a break and would rejoin Hekari when their next round of O-League matches start.
Fiji Football Association media officer Moiz Munif revealed yesterday that Donaldson was the unknown Fijian player in the Hekari United squad.
“People here know that there are three players from Fiji playing for Hekari. But there are four and the fourth player is unknown because he played rugby here,” Munif said.
A check with the Hekari United website confirmed that Donaldson was the fourth Fijian player named in the squad, alongside Labasa trio Pita Bolaitoga, Maciu Dunadamu and Taniela Waqa.
Hekari will enjoy two more home matches in the New Year welcoming Amicale and Auckland City in February and March respectively before a return leg in the Solomon Islands against Koloale in their final group B match.
The club, who won the Oceania leg in 2010, are still in the running for the playoffs for top spot following their 3-1 victory over Koloale last month.
The win took Hekari to four points from their three group B matches, equal second with Vanuatu’s Amicale.
Attempt to contact Hekari United FC franchise owner John Kapi Natto was unsuccessful but a member of the team management (named) had confirmed that Isoa was released.
“He is free to play other sports apart from soccer,” the team official said.