With two clubs up and running in New Zealand, Auckland Power Wheelchair Football Club president Trevor Jenkin has both eyes for the present, but a keen eye on the future as the sport grows in New Zealand.
Power Football consists of two teams, with four players on the court for each side. Regular substitutions are made during a match, and each side has a centre, a right and left wing, and a goalie.
In 2014, Power Wheelchair Football is a growing sport in New Zealand for people with disabilities.
Power Wheelchair Football in New Zealand’s founder Sean Stamp started the Auckland Power Wheelchair Football Club a few years ago, and the current club president Trevor Jenkin says the impact that Stamp had in getting the sport up off the ground in New Zealand was profound.
“Sean’s impact was huge, he just wanted to get the whole thing opened up and get many clubs. It wouldn’t have started in Auckland if it wasn’t for Sean, and also Canterbury wouldn’t have gone to where they have gone because it was only a social team.”
The club was hit hard last year when their leader Sean Stamp lost his life after a long fight with Muscular Dystrophy. But through the sadness of the last year, Trevor Jenkin recalls the moment Sean approached him to get involved with the club well.
“He rung me and asked if I would be interesting in assisting him running a club, so I obviously said yes.”
Jenkin says the sport has had a big impact on his son Bradley, one of the clubs best and brightest young players who is set to grow into something special in the future.
As the current chairperson of the Muscular Dystrophy Northern Committee, a branch which runs a service to benefit and raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy sufferers in New Zealand’s northern areas, Jenkin saw an immediate opportunity to grow the numbers attending the newly formed club which runs out of Auckland’s Spinal Unit in Otara.
“I thought there must be hundreds of our members out there that would need this sort of thing and it has worked, and from there Sean came along to me and asked if I would run the club.”
With currently 22 players on the books in Auckland, and a major sponsor, Trevor Jenkin wants to grow power wheelchair football not only for the Auckland club, but also in New Zealand as a whole, with aims for a club to be set up in Waikato already on plan list.
But Jenkin believes it will be hard to get people on board, with the expensive cost to play at a professional level the main barrier for most.
A Strike Force Wheelchair, the “professional” power soccer chair, costs $17,000 off the shelf and the proper guards are worth $800 each.