Auckland-based football club Fencibles United literally gave the shirts off their backs after donating their much-loved and well looked after uniforms to the Oceania Football Confederation and its Member Associations.
Among those associations set to benefit from the gift is the Vanuatu Football Federation, whose Technical Director Peter Takaro was on hand in Auckland to receive the donation from Fencibles youth club captain Jeannine Melville.
Takaro was delighted with the generous gift, and is looking forward to sharing the uniforms with Vanuatu clubs and players in need of equipment.
“In Vanuatu we have a development programme and we have eight associations that really need this, so we’re very thankful that Fencibles has made this donation to us and other MAs that might also need them,” he said.
“This will be something that will boost our development programme in smaller areas and different member associations in our federation,” he added.
“I’m very happy to receive these shirts and I’m looking forward to shipping them to Vanuatu so that we can start using them.”
The initiative was coordinated by Melville who wanted to put the quality uniforms to good use after receiving new strips for the upcoming season.
“Over the last 18 months the club has made the move to have all members from age four to over 50 in the same uniform to reflect our strong club culture,” she explained.
“We knew we had made the right decision when we saw the smiles on the junior children’s’ faces when they got to try out the new shirts for photos last year, and the sadness when they had to give them back,” she said.
Melville hopes receiving the shirts will bring the same joy to Vanuatu football players.
“We thought this could help boost the children in the Pacific as much as the new shirts boosted our young ones,” she said.
“The difference is that in the Pacific they have very little to begin with so it’s very rewarding to know you are putting a smile on a child’s face. That’s why we did this.”