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Sasha Haskell

Age / Birthdate
June 30, 1969
The Enforcer
Individual Achievements
16 SWANZ appearances, 8 goals
SWANZ debut v. Papua New Guinea, October 20, 1994
Auckland rep. 1989, 1991, 1999   -   23 appearances, 4 goals
Wellington rep. 1992-97
Club Record
Eden, 1987-91
Miramar Rangers, 1992-93
Petone, 1994-96
Marist Wellington, 1997-98
Three Kings United, 1999
Club Honours
Northern Premier Women's League champions
1987, 1991, 1999
Auckland Premier Women's Knockout Shield winners
1987, 1991
Auckland Premier Women's Champion-of-Champions winners
1987, 1991
Central Premier Women's League champions
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
Kelly Cup winners
WSANZ Knockout Cup winners
Representative Team Honours
National Women's Soccer Tournament champions
1991, 1994, 1999

All In The Line Of Duty For Haskell
by Jeremy Ruane
penned prior to the 1998 Oceania Women’s World Cup qualifying series
Wellington and New Zealand women's soccer rep Sacha Haskell is not a lady you want to get on the wrong side of, 'cause if you do, there is every likelihood you'll end up doing some time.

For when she's not employed in the role of midfield enforcer for her club, province or country, the 29-year-old can be found in another enforcement role as such, namely that of a Detective Constable in the New Zealand Police force.

"Being a 'copper' was something I always wanted to do - it suits me down to the ground", says DC Haskell. "I currently work in the Criminal Investigation Bureau. The job often involves dealing with filework, which challenges me to think laterally about cases. That's a part of my duties which I really enjoy".

And will hopefully play a part in helping Sacha satisfy a personal ambition this year - qualifying as a detective. "I can assure you that it hasn't been easy getting this far. I joined the force in 1991, and underwent my training at the Police College in Porirua, near Wellington. I graduated from there in April 1992, and was recruited for duties as part of the Wellington Constabulary".

The start of 1995 saw Sacha acquire a new string to her bow in the line of duty. "I became a member of the Armed Offenders Squad. Only four women in New Zealand have been enlisted for duty in the AOS, and I'm one of two currently operative". She's also the top police marksperson in the country, male or female, and is clearly not a woman to mess around with.

The same statement applies when you're confronted by her on the pitch. Suffice to say, you know you've been in a match come the final whistle of a game when Sacha has been in the opposition's line-up!!

When she first took up sport, soccer was not top of the heap in Sacha's list of priorities. "When I was aged between ten and thirteen, I was playing tennis with and against the likes of New Zealand's current number one tennis player, Brett Steven. At that time, I was the third-ranked tennis player in the country for my age".

"Soccer was a secondary sport for me at the time, but when I went to Wellington Girls High School in 1982, I made the first eleven at the age of thirteen. Not long afterwards, I moved to Auckland for personal reasons, and went to school at Epsom Girls Grammar. I played for their first eleven too, and after leaving school, made the Auckland squad in 1989".

It was as a result of her successful exploits on the football fields that Sacha consequently gave tennis away. But she found a suitable substitute - cricket. "I played cricket for both Wellington and Auckland before my interests in that sport came to a shuddering halt at a New Zealand Under-23 training camp. I fractured a vertebrae in my spine, an injury which I took two years to recover from".

After this serious setback, it was soccer all the way for Haskell, and she was rewarded by her selection in the Auckland women's squad which won the 1991 National Women's Soccer Tournament.

Her decision to enrol in the police force meant a move back to Wellington, the province for whom she has appeared since 1992. Two years later, Sacha joined an elite group of players who have won the National Tournament with two provinces when Wellington won their first title in nine years. But she had another reason to remember 1994 fondly.

"I made my New Zealand debut in that year's Women's World Cup qualifying series in Papua New Guinea. I then played in India and Australia, and Maurice Tillotson named me in his first squad, which travelled to South Korea".

"It was here that injury befell me yet again. I went over a sprinkler during the game and injured my ankle to such an extent that I was out of soccer for a further two years, eventually making my comeback at last year's National Tournament. That in itself was quite a concern for me, particularly my lack of match fitness. I knew I had to work extremely hard to get back to a level which would allow me to survive a demanding week-long tournament".

But work hard Sacha did, and her dedication and commitment gained their just reward when she was named in the SWANZ squad for the tri-series matches against Australia and China last November. Since this series, she has gone on to become one of the first names Maurice Tillotson pens in on the team-sheet, with fifteen caps and eight goals to her name going into the Oceania qualifying series semi-finals.

"I want to help ensure that New Zealand advances to next year's Women's World Cup Finals in the USA, a tournament in which I'm also keen to play an on-field role, preferably as part of the SWANZ starting line-up. Generally, I want to concentrate on my own development in women's soccer, through working on my general fitness and speeding up my play".

"The sport in New Zealand has huge potential", Sacha continues. "The 'Champions Tour' was of great benefit to us in our efforts to qualify for the World Cup, and in our bid to challenge, and hopefully eclipse, Australia's current dominance of women's soccer in Oceania".

"It's match-play such as this which we require on a regular basis. At the same time, we need to establish some sort of Soccer Academy, to enable young girls with potential to have the opportunity to develop their talents in an appropriate environment. The announcement last year that FIFA are going to establish such an academy in Auckland, even though it is for use by all the countries in Oceania, is tremendous news in this regard".

Women should also be allowed to compete in the men's grades, says Haskell, due to the funding constraints which the sport faces. "It will allow women to get used to playing a harder, faster level of soccer, so that when they advance to the national team, where the need to be at your peak is paramount, the higher level of competition which playing against men would provide will stand them in good stead".

"At the same time, the existing regional leagues can become development competitions for the up-and-coming talent in the game, who would gradually filter through to the higher level as they improve as players and become more mature generally".

Sacha's interest in women's soccer saw her invited to take part as the sport's representative in a television programme called 'Clash of the Codes' in 1995. "Through that programme, I got to meet a lot of athletes from a variety of different sports. One of a number of things I gleaned from the experience is that, unless you play one of the four sports which New Zealand's media tends to follow closely, namely, rugby, rugby league, cricket and netball, you need to be very self-motivated to succeed in your chosen code".

"Hence my admiration for any athletes who put in the extra effort in order to represent their country in what the media consider to be 'minority codes'. The sacrifices these athletes make to go further in their chosen sport are eye-opening".

"It disappoints me that goverment funding is not forthcoming to assist such sportsmen and sportswomen on a more readily available basis. While representing your country should be regarded as an honour, 'man cannot live by bread alone', as the saying goes!!"

Sacha herself has made a few sacrifices over the years for her sports, with her dedication to her personalised programme for the SWANZ World Cup campaign often seeing her in the gym late at night after investigating any number of cases down at the station.

It's such dedication, coupled with her resolve to come back from two serious injuries, which has earned her plenty of admiration and respect from her peers in New Zealand women's soccer. As far as she's concerned, however, it's all in the line of duty.

Scoring record for Eden / Three Kings United (1987-91, 1999)

Oratia United
Waitemata City
Pakuranga Town
Onehunga Sports
Premier Women's League
Women's Knockout Shield
SWANZ Knockout Cup

Stars of the Past