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The Resilient Spirit of Manurewa's Girls’ Basketball team
Updates / Community , 29 Mar 24
In 2023, a group of 11-12-year-old young women, primarily of Polynesian descent, who play basketball in Manurewa, Auckland, participated in both a U13 Auckland-wide club competition and competitions within their local Intermediate School. Through collaborations with their school and club, Pasifika Futures (PFL) sponsored the team to a tournament recognised as one of the top events for U13 basketball in New Zealand. This event not only offers competitive exposure but also connects players with high schools and colleges, offering academic and sporting scholarships that many South Auckland players may otherwise miss out on.

Under the guidance of Coach Johnny Southey, head coach at the Manurewa Pride basketball club and the Manurewa Intermediate girls team, it becomes evident that success is not merely measured in trophies and accolades but in the growth and development of the players as individuals.

 “Our journey has been a fantastic opportunity not only for basketball development but also for the development as human beings,” shares Coach Johnny. “I've appreciated the time, effort, and focus that the girls give me as a coach. It's a testament to their sacrifice and commitment.”

 In 2023, the team participated in the AIMS Games and secured a bronze medal after playing a total of 12 games and losing only one. In contrast, their performance in 2022 saw them placing 11th out of 13 teams in the same tournament.

 With each season, they set goals and strive to exceed expectations. From making finals to winning tournaments, the team has demonstrated determination and resilience. Yet, amidst their victories, the team remain grounded, knowing that the journey is as important as the destination.

 “Our most recent goal is to reach the quarterfinals or at least the top four in the next tournament. We aim to continue our upward trajectory and build on the successes of previous years,” Coach Johnny expresses.

 Financial obstacles often loom large for the team, but through the generosity of sponsorship from PFL, they have been able to overcome barriers and pursue their dreams. Coach Johnny shares the impact of PFL’s support towards the team.

 “We would never have been able to achieve our goals without the support of Pasifika Futures. The sponsorship has been a massive opportunity for our team, empowering our players to reach new heights.”

 “Simply having the opportunity to get the girls out of their comfort zone together as a team, travel outside of Auckland, and take part in a national tournament are experiences that many children in South Auckland perceive as beyond reach and unattainable.”

 Amid Easter weekend, Coach Johnny is reminded of the power of resilience and hope. Just as Easter symbolises the triumph of hope over despair, Coach Johnny believes that with a positive attitude the team can overcome any obstacle that comes their way.

 “There is always the opportunity to come back, no matter how many times you get knocked down. It’s never a down-and-out thing. It’s never the end,” shares Coach Johnny. “Regardless of the hurdles you may face in life, if you have a positive outlook, you can overcome anything”