Australian born Mohammed Rajani is proud of his Tongan heritage as he opted to represent his mother’s country at the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifiers in Lautoka, Fiji.
Born and raised in Sydney, Rajani is born to a Tongan mother and Pakistani father.
He started his football career at a very young age with Apia Leichardt Tigers before a recent called up to represent Tonga at the OFC U-19 Championship Qualifier in the Cook Islands which saw them qualified for the OFC U-19 Championship in Tahiti.
The 20-year-old was fast-tracked into the Tongan national U-23 team an opportunity he grabs up with both hands.
“I’ve been played for the Tongan U19s last year and I’ve been selected to the U23s,” he said
“I am always proud to put this jersey on and represent Tonga which is the country of my heritage, my family so I am proud to represent all of them all of Tonga.
“It’s always my choice to represent Tonga, I am from Australia born and raised there being back to Tonga lots of times with my family.
“As soon the opportunity arise for me to put the jersey on, I took it straight away.
“There was no doubt in my mind that I want to represent Tonga I didn’t hesitate and I took the chance straight away I don’t regret it.
“I am really proud, there are no other feeling like this crest on your chest when I wear the emblem it’s more than just football, and it’s wearing the pride of Tonga on your back. Wearing that jersey is like nothing else.
“I am really proud and I thank God to be able to have this chance again to be here in Fiji represent Tonga again with the U23s”.
Having kicked his first ball at a very young age with Apia Leichardt, his local club, Rajani’s development has been shaped in several different Sydney-based academies before he arrived in the National Premier League (NPL) in New South Wales.
“I started very young at the age of four, around five years old in Sydney for a team called Tigers who I played for the majority of my youth career and I spent time in Sydney, in England playing for several different clubs,” he revealed.
“Now I’m still playing in Sydney and now playing for the U23s so hopefully we can do well here.
“I am the only foreign player in this squad all the boys are locals from Tonga. So it’s good to have a mix and it’s good to represent Tonga.
“I hope that all of the boys from here, from Fiji and all the nations can do their best to glorify God with all our talent”.
Rajani is now expected to play a key role in Tonga’s final group match on Saturday against Papua New Guinea.