FIJI football defender Rupeni Rabici is proving to be a future star .

He is being groomed by coach Christophe Gamel. He made his international debut for Fiji against Estonia during the FIFA friendly match last month.

Rabici, 21, is the nephew of former Fiji and Ba player Arjun Pillay and the brother of former Tavua and Nadi striker, Jone Salauneune.

“I am giving my best for the country. I am just a caretaker of the jersey before I hand it over to someone else in the future,” he said.

“I tried very hard to be in the national team after being dropped in a number of times for my district Nadi. I thank coach Christophe for having the trust in me and to give me the opportunity to play for the national team.

“My uncle Arjun Pillay and my brother helped me to be a good footballer.”

It is not easy for many to get the opportunity to play for the national team and Rabici considers himself very fortunate to represent Fiji

“I played three tournaments for Nadi — the Fiji FACT, Battle of the Giants and Inter-District Championship,” he said.

“I was dropped from the district squad, but I never lost hope and continued to work hard hard,” he said while relaxing at the team’s camp in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

“It was a proud moment for me to make my debut against Estonia,” he said.

I started from the bench towards the end of the match.

“I will never let go of those memories.”

Fiji will play Vanuatu in a crucial match for both the teams tomorrow at 12noon.

Story and photo by Fiji Times