Manukau United’s Ola Shahin has been recognised for her contribution to football by the Counties Manukau Sports Foundation’s Sport in Excellence Awards.
The 28-year-old footballer was a recipient of a Volunteer of the Year award, presented to her at an awards function held in early April.
Listing her achievements, the foundation’s citation for Shahin’s award said:
“Ola is a volunteer who spends every day at the Manukau United Football Club. She helps with fundraising, supporting the community, managing teams, coaching junior teams, manages media and photographs games in the weekend. There are not many jobs that don’t involve Ola!”
Shahin plays for Manukau United and is team manager for the club’s U-23 men’s team and their U-19 tournament team.
She coaches children aged 4-8 and is taking her coaching qualifications.
Manukau United’s Facebook page congratulated her, saying: “We appreciate all you do, Ola; you are a strong part of our backbone and we thank you a thousand times over. Congratulations, Ola, and Ngā mihi nui ki a koe.”
Shahin, who moved to New Zealand from Kuwait when she was five, has previously said that football has played a major part in helping her cope with depression and loneliness.
In a 2020 interview with The Newsroom, published in Stuff, she said joining a football team in Tauranga had forced her out of the house and to get to know people.
When she moved to Auckland, she joined Manukau United and found new ways to enjoy life through football, including coaching and helping to plan Football for Freedom for Palestine events.
“Football for me now has become this support network — I love going. Because I’ve had to be open about things, we can talk about more than just football,” she told Newsroom‘s Ashley Stanley.
Main photo: Ola Shahin receives her award from the deputy chair of Manukau Counties Sports Foundation, Gavin Donald.