Hamilton Wanderers striker Helen Arjomandi is one goal from equalling a long-held goalscoring record — and she’ll get her chance to score it in the highest-profile cup game of the year.
Arjomandi’s Wanderers side go into the final of the Kate Sheppard Cup on Sunday with the former Football Fern sitting on 36 goals scored in the competition over the past decade or so.
That’s one goal behind the all-time record of 37 held by Fern Katie Rood, who now plays for English club Southampton.
Wanderers play Wellington United in Sunday’s grand final at North Harbour Stadium, Auckland (2.30pm).
The game is open to spectators, with free entry to the stadium from 2pm. It will be broadcast live by Sky Sports NEXT.
For Arjomandi (32), the game presents a double chance at making history.
Wanderers have never won a national title since their foundation in 1964 and this presents the perfect opportunity for her to establish a personal milestone.
Will she be thinking of the record come Sunday?
“No, it won’t matter whether I score or the goals come from the other girls,” she says.
“Sometimes it’s my job to stay up top and try to bring the others into play.”
Most of her goals in the Kate Sheppard Cup were scored for her former club, Claudelands Rovers, and her goalscoring efforts for current club Wanderers followed her decision to come out of football retirement after a two-year break.
Within half a season of joining Wanderers, she became pregnant with daughter Amelia, putting football on hold for a further spell.
“I’m still trying to get properly fit,” she says. “A couple of days after the semi-final, my body was fairly sore … and I guess it’s also age catching up with me.”
Arjomandi, who scored six goals in her 25 internationals for the Football Ferns, says she has enjoyed the positive environment at Wanderers “because football is not the be-all and end-all … and it makes you want to play again.”
As for Sunday’s final, she’s expecting Wellington United to base their game around the strong defence that held out cup holders Eastern Suburbs in their 1-0 semi-final win.
If goals are hard to get, Arjomandi’s career stats suggest she might have the tools to unlock Wellington United’s rearguard.
And the all-time goalscoring record might be there for the taking.
Main photo: Helen Arjomandi … a natural goalscorer. Image/Phototek.
- Thanks to Jeremy Ruane of the UltimateNZSoccer website whose careful monitoring of football records, especially for the women’s game, makes it possible for records to be kept — and broken!
The Kate Sheppard Cup is made possible by support from NZ Football Foundation.