Hanover Park Cricket Club at forefront of youth empowerment
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Cape Town - Thirty years into its bid, the Fishrite Hanover Park Cricket Club has taken on an initiative to empower its youth through sport in an effort to combat the community’s high rate of gang-related violence.
Carlyle Roberts, who was just an eight-year-old boy when he joined the club, said that not only did the club help him find his passion but it kept him out of a life of crime.
“Cricket is my passion and the club has become my family. It has kept me and others off the streets and away from gangs, violence and substance abuse.”
Roberts, who is a pupil at Groenvlei Senior Secondary, explained that in Hanover Park children as young as 14 are recruited into gangs. In many cases, gangsters will give poverty-stricken children money to sustain their families, feeding into a cycle of gang-related violence and crimes.
Fifteen-year-old Carl Damon described his trip to England as one of his favourite moments in the club. During his visit he got to experience another country in well-facilitated sport scenes. He added that the experience was an eye-opener and inspired him to overcome his own challenges and pursue a career in professional A1 club one day.
The club’s head coach, Igshaan Hugo, explained that sport is an excellent way to empower youth in various communities and that communities, through discipline, workshops and training, are able to shape well-rounded individuals.
“We do clean-ups, food donations, sports coaching and travelling. We aim to be the best cricket club in the country and to create well-established community members and leaders for the future.”
Shafwaan Doutie, who has been the club captain of the team for 15 years, explained that Hanover Park remains a community of disempowered youth who are often unable to afford tertiary education after completing high school.
“These young people have talents and ambitions but unfortunately do not have study opportunities at their disposal as most parents cannot afford the fees. One of our dreams is for funders not only to sponsor sports in lower-income communities but also to invest into educational opportunities.”
The club’s management team said they aim to produce a player in the national side, the Proteas.
“Thirty years into a democracy and unfortunately most Proteas and professional players are products of affluent schools, (but) through consistency and hard work the Fishrite Hanover Park Cricket Club aims to change that dynamic.”