Epeli Bobo, the son of decorated Fijian rugby player Sireli Bobo is focused on building a career in football and make a name for himself.
The 19-year-old who scored a goal on tournament debut for Suva against his former district Navua in the 2023 Digicel Fiji FACT on Sunday told FijiLive he will always relish the moment.
The native revealed he looked up to Ni-Vanuatu striker Azariah Soromon in the team and felt proud to wear his number 13 jersey in the tournament.
“It was a very big tournament and first ever time to start in the 11. I feel happy and blessed to make my debut for Suva.”
“A proud moment for me to score my first goal in my first tournament and there was a different feeling when the coach gave me the jersey number of our striker Azariah. He always wore that number when he played for Suva.”
“I felt that he was close to me because he guided me during the team training and always gave me tips on how to score goals.”
“It’s a big team with a lot of national team reps and playing with them has built me a lot of confidence as I’m not much experienced in football because I started off last year.”
The Fiji National University aircraft engineering student, said he is the first from his family to play football.
“Football has always been a big part of me. I’m just so passionate about this sport while I tried to play other sports.”
“Growing up I started off as a football player in France when my family was there before I started to play rugby at the age of 12 but then I resumed playing football last year.”
“My dad was a rugby player but there was massive support when I told him about my interest in football. He has been very encouraging and always advises me to be a good sportsman on and off the field.”
“My plan is to continue playing for Suva and this year my focus is just soccer because I feel I can achieve a lot in this sport.”
Bobo added that while it will be an unforgettable debut for him, he needs to improve on his fitness and speed.
“Before the game, the senior players said that if I get the ball, just shoot into the goalmouth. At times I did, but it hit the crossbar.”
“I just entered the match to play but when I stepped in the box, I received the ball, I saw a lot of space and just took a shot not thinking of anything.”
“I started as a defender growing up but when I joined Suva, I started playing as a midfielder and striker. I’m working on my fitness and running line.”
“After the game, I felt that I was a bit slow and I really need to work on my ball possession and learn to capitalise on the chances.”
Despite Suva bowing out of the tournament ahead of the semifinals, Bobo said he learned a lot of lessons.
“The Suva team has a strong brotherhood bond. The players connect with each other well and we play united. The senior players are always guiding us and the coach always tells us to have faith in ourselves.”
“Some things that I’m going to take away are learning from the opponents on how they play and also the mistakes I made and reflecting on my performance. Now I’m aware of my strengths and my weaknesses as well. I’m hopeful of playing more league games to improve my performance.”