Football great Steve Sumner dies

Steve Sumner, the All Whites captain who led the New Zealand side to the World Cup finals, has died. He was 61.

Steve Sumner. Photo: NZ Herald
Steve Sumner. Photo: NZ Herald

The Christchurch football great had been suffering from prostate cancer, after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease in August 2015.

Sumner, along with coaches John Adshead and Kevin Fallon, was central to one of the great New Zealand sporting campaigns, when an under-rated New Zealand side went on a record 15-game qualifying run that took them to the 1982 finals in Spain.

It was the first time New Zealand had qualified for the finals, something they have repeated just once since - in 2010.

New Zealand performed creditably there, losing to USSR, Brazil and Scotland.

Most pundits would agree that no one player has had a greater impact on New Zealand football than Sumner. Wynton Rufer was the best technical player this country has produced, and Ryan Nelsen and Winston Reid have reached the rarefied heights of the English Premier League, but Sumner's influence was immense.

Sumner played 105 times for the All Whites (including 58 'A' internationals) over a 12-year period, scoring 27 goals.

He was a Christchurch United stalwart, winning a record seven Chatham Cups and five league titles. He received Fifa's highest honour - the Order of Merit award - in 2010 for services to football.

 

Add a Comment

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter