Hanover Park Cricket Club Dreams

We have a dream of helping the Hanover Park Cricket Club to bring into reality the Downberg Sports Complex with Club House for Sport and Education Purposes in Hanover Park, a community ravaged by gang violence, drugs and social challenges.

President of the club Ashraf Allie wrote the following piece :
“We live inside our own Hearts” Our Journey thus far – Hanover Park Cricket Club

“Speaking of intentions, everything I do is based on good intentions as this is how I was reared up by many who cared for me. I had a difficult childhood and not for one moment do I blame my parents or anyone in my circle…I quickly hasten to add that there are many that experienced far worse than me and I hastened to add never did I ever feel unloved, I was always loved by those around me and there was many (Close family and friends). I recall vivid memories on having to leave District Six when I was still very young and I force myself every now and then to recall the fond memories of my short time there as a kid (I should actually document this separately for safe keeping so I don’t lose sight of those memories).

My upbringing was difficult and a joy at the same time if that makes any sense and from a very young age, the Almighty placed love in my Heart…This is why I can say, I live in my Heart. Fast track to how I became involved with Hanover Park Cricket Club. I was always a sports lover and I played football for a number of clubs and played cricket socially (Up until today, I cannot fathom why I never joined a cricket club to play more).

I was part of a SA Football 2010 World Cup project that would possibly have set us financially free if it became a success, ironically for a cricket club as they wanted to benefit from the historic moment of our country hosting a football world cup. It turns out, it was another learning curve in my life as it failed to materialise. I use fail purposely, because throughout my lifetime up until today, I fail at many things, yet in my Heart, I succeed at the same time, if that makes sense to those reading my journey in becoming involved with this amazing cricket club. So, by default, from that project people from the cricket club saw some skills sets I had and coerced me into becoming part of their executive team as the secretary of the club. No experience, other than my lived experience of having many failures along the way including in business as I was part of a very hurtful and traumatic time in a business venture that went wrong. I hold no grudges and owned my part in the business not succeeding. The one thing, I will say, in my heart I know my intentions for the business was to only do good. The one element of that business was that it had to have many people to make it a success. And that was my attraction, people…I felt I could help many. Alas, it did not work that time. The failure, set me free and I don’t ponder on it as I have made peace with it with my Maker.

For six years I served St Augustine Cricket Club with all my Heart and I met many people who today still remain dear to me. It was one evening, reading the Cape Argus (My dad worked for the Cape Argus) and I received his free daily copies (A perk of his…lol ) as he lived by us for a period of time. In the paper was an article of a girl that went missing, her name Sasha Lee November, I repeat, Sasha Lee November. She went missing in Hanover Park and by that time I became very aware of Hanover Park as every single day there was always something negative about this area. In between there was your positive stories, the most famous being Benni McCarthy. That evening, reading this sad article, I told my wife there and then, that’s it…I am going to get involved with a cricket club in Hanover Park to see if I can help make a difference in any way. By this time, I had built up a reputation of being a robust sports activist as I was very vocal talking out against the injustices of what’s happening with how the game is being badly administered, and up to today, I still feel nothing much has changed for the previously disadvantage clubs. Today, we still “fighting” for proper facilities, proper access to finance, proper opportunities for our vulnerable youth that grow up in the most unequal environments that you can think of.

From 2014 when I joined the club, I approached the then Chairperson to advise I wanted to join the club however if I do, I would love to lead the club as the Chairperson because I believe I have a vision where to help take us. I insisted he stays on as the Vice Chairperson including all those that was part of keeping the club together. It safe to say, at the time, the club struggled to fill two teams and there was hardly funds to sustain the club and upon understanding the club over the years, the club did have a history of excelling on the field when they secured a sponsor. My intention is not to debate the rights and wrongs of the approach of the leadership of that time as we had some wonderful players, some who were denied proper opportunities to pursue successful careers at international level. We immediately had a bosberaad (Workshop) with all the members at the time and targeted influential individuals to assist us on this new journey of making the club grow and develop.

From this bosberaad, we made the following commitments for the club which is still our decree which the Exco religiously remind all that remains on board as well as the new members that join our club. It might come across as dogmatic however we insist we do not divert from that mandate we committed to back in 2014. What are these, a) We want to become self-sustainable (We currently only survive on sponsorships and donations) however we have started an annual golf day that raises much needed funds for our operations, definitely not sufficient yet. b) We want to become the best club in the Country, this has extended now to Africa. c) We want to produce well rounded sports individuals that represent their country and community at the highest level. (This is not specifically only great Protea players, they can become top umpires, competent administrators, scorers, coaches, etc). d) Reciprocate this to other individuals and organisations and most importantly throughout our membership. We have a saying at the club, we don’t sign members, we sign families. This is underpinned with proof where we have Dads, Mothers, Sons, Daughters all playing or involved at the club is some capacity of leadership.

The individuals we approached to become Patrons of the club, busy people and we respect their time and their input to help guide us to achieve the goals and objectives we set out above. We extremely grateful and we remind our membership of this all the time. There are too many too mention however there is enough literature to point them out and at the appropriate times, we do so. With their help, we have achieved so many successes, the fact that 10 years down the line, we still around and this is evidence that we remain on the right track as we still have much more to achieve. We a very, very ambitious club, buckle up!

Some of the successes to mention in no order of priority, a) from 2 teams, we have 16 teams in various categories, 4 senior teams, a women team, a vets team, junior teams, which includes an under 13 girls teams, 4/5 mini cricket teams mixed with boys and girls. b) Taking 14 boys with 7 management (21 in total) to the UK on a cricket tour where the boys and management saw the world from another perspective, we built brotherhood and sisterhood from the UK which we still retain till today. Most of the boys are playing senior cricket and many in our 1st side with some seeking to play at higher levels at other clubs. c) Our first side playing 3 finals at the iconic Newlands Cricket Ground in 5 years, for some of these players they never ever dreamt of playing at this ground when they joined the club. What our purpose did, was make individuals dream again. d) Our women team/s. Due to misguided individuals who has since left, we lost an entire Women team to another rival club, a team our club invested heavily in to make them the players they are today, and despite this, we built another women team and they currently playing Premier League cricket, the highest level in Women cricket. Last year they were promoted and under difficult circumstances they retained Premier League status. Add to this the current under 13 girls team, they going to challenge the current women team and soon we will have to register two to three women teams. Our 2nd and 3rd sides won promotion to higher leagues which demonstrates the quality and depth we have player wise. e) Our junior set up, under 11’s, under 13’s, under 15’s and some of our colts playing in the 4 senior sides. This is underpinned by our school programme we have at various schools in Hanover Park and surrounds. (Due to financial constraints we run a very limited programme currently). f) Our annual Golf Day which we started last year and this year in April our best out of the two, which we hope to grow and develop in the coming years. (Feel free to enquire more for us to share on this exciting fundraiser and exposure for your own brands). i) The success of producing top certified umpires, accredited coaches, scorers and competent administrators. j) We have helped members being placed at various businesses after being unemployed for years, we have held workshops in various sectors/industries, upskilling them to become well rounded citizens. Arranging tutoring sessions, feeding and distributing sanitary products via our donors/partners. Sadly, we have arranged counselling sessions for members who lost children due to crime/gang fights, we have had to help members that have been on substance abuse as well, some have been rehabilitated, some due to the lack of human and financial resources have simply gone back to the bad habits. We have lost some who succumbed to their additions and passed on.

The last paragraph indicates that this is more than a cricket club as we are faced with daily challenges and this is not even referring to the obstacles placed on us by external forces that are supposed to be support mechanisms for us to operate as a community cricket club.

I cannot stop empathising this point, we are a very ambitious club and we want to achieve great success on and off the field. We continue to strive to get members to play to achieve the highest playing level, we in the market for a naming rights sponsor, we pursuing our club house project and want to fully implement our cricket coaching school programme as this has been one of our success stories that allowed us to identify the youth interested to play the game and helped select those to tour. We need to finalise an operational structure that will be able to work full time to ensure our suitability. We have the resources, we simply lack the finances for now.”

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