Ferns ‘originals’ team with PUMA to help next generation of women footballers

More than 120 Auckland girls will play their 2024 football in new boots, thanks to three Football Ferns ‘originals’ and apparel and boots supplier PUMA.

They have been presented with new boots by 1975 Ferns Barbara Cox, Sandra Twiname and Elaine Lee, as part of a series of activities in New Zealand and Australia to celebrate the forming of the first national women’s football team, known as the OGs (‘originals’).

During the FIFA Women’s World Cup, members of the OGs travelled to Sydney for a reunion — and a match — with the first-ever Australia team, who the New Zealanders beat 3-2 in the semi-finals of the 1975 Asian Cup tournament.

READ MORE: The rematch (and emotional reunion) that was 48 years in the making … >>>>

PUMA sponsored the reunion and the rematch and presented each OG with a $500 voucher to be used to encourage young female players.

Members of the 1975 New Zealand OGs gather for their 2023 reunion. Back row (from left): Barbara Cox, Raewyn Hall, Sandra Twiname, Carol Waller. Front row: Kathy (Simenoff) Hall, Nell Jongeneel, Elaine (Lee) Collins, Marilyn Marshall, Carol Knox. Absent from photo: Isobel Richardson.

Barbara Cox, the first Ferns captain, said: “Elaine Lee, Sandra Twiname and I decided to give our $500 in the form of boots to some intermediate schools based in Mt Roskill and Panmure /Glen Innes, as well as the girls’ football hub at Bill McKinlay Park run by Altan Ramadam of Uni-Mount Bohemian.”

Main photo: The OGs and Altan Ramadam meet girls from the girls’ football hub at Mt Wellington’s Bill McKinlay Park.

“One of the reasons for choosing these schools is that the Four Winds Foundation supports four schools in Panmure/Glen Innes and Mt Roskill Intermediate through Altan (at Uni-Mount) and Kris Bright (at Auckland City) with weekly football training in school time,” Cox said.

“They are making a difference — one headmaster told me the whole school has switched from the oval ball to the round ball.

“For me, linking everything up has been brilliant and now more than 120 girls are not only playing football but will have new football boots, in some cases instead of borrowed or second-hand pairs.”

Altan Ramadam said: “From our perspective, we feel very fortunate to be able to provide these sorts of opportunities for kids in our communities.

“We are especially grateful to Four Winds Foundation for their continued support for our ‘Football For All‘ schools programme, without which, these sorts of initiatives simply would not have been possible.”

PUMA’s Harry Ngata … ‘honoured to be involved.’

Former All White Harry Ngata, the national sales manager for PUMA New Zealand, said:

“PUMA NZ are honoured to have been able to involve the 1975 Originals in the recent WWC events.

“The ability to partner with the OG’s to donate boots throughout the community is one thing and we’re grateful at the opportunity to do this, but the intrinsic connection to our whakapapa — connecting those amazing players who have gone before us with the Football Ferns and future Ferns for me is so special.

“To understand and acknowledge our identity is a tool we can use to our advantage on and off the pitch.

“You should see some of the faces when we introduce them (the OGs) as members of the very first New Zealand women’s football team, and Barbara being the very first captain.

“We then get bombarded with so many questions; it really is amazing.”

READ MORE: PUMA becomes long-term apparel partner for New Zealand Football >>>>

Mt Roskill Intermediate

Players from Mt Roskill Intermediate with their PUMA boots.

Glen Innes School

Players at Glen Innes School wearing their new boots.

Jonathan Hendricks, principal at Glen Innes School, said:

“Your initiative to grow the game by supporting Altan to deliver regular coaching to our students has seen a huge change in our playground. The oval ball has almost disappeared!

“There has already been a huge uptake in regular play amongst our female students, and this initiative to get them their own boots can only further drive the positive impact generated by our dedicated coaches.”

Sylvia Park School

Students from Sylvia Park School … ready for the 2024 season with their new boots.

Amanda Key, deputy principal at Sylvia Park School, said:

“Everyone was absolutely over the moon to receive their boots and these were greatly appreciated.”

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