A new season of Sunday-league football is set to kick off this weekend in Hangberg, but the community’s sports facility is still in poor shape, say club officials and players.
In November, clubs red-carded the City for the damaged playing surfaces, poor lighting, lack of fencing, dog poo in the dressing rooms and other problems at the municipal sports complex, comprising a soccer field, dressing rooms and community hall (“Fix our field, demand sports clubs,” Sentinel News, November 19, 2021), but things have only gotten worse since then, they say.
Chairman of the Sunday League in Hangberg, Sidney Phillips, said it was sad to see the state of the facility, but the “show must go on”.
“Football brings so many people together and the Sunday has been a major success. We already have locals who have again stuck their hands into their own pockets to have the facility fixed.”
Several appeals to the City to fix the facility had fallen on deaf ears, he said.
“We are having so many issues in terms of the state of the facility, and it affects games as well,” Mr Phillips said, adding that their local team, FC Hout Bay, playing the third division, also struggled to have games on their home turf.
In a statement, FC Hout Bay said: “We had zero support from the City with regards to maintenance of Hangberg sports field.”
They said they had already been forced to spend more than R20 000 on maintenance just to have the field ready to play their regional third-division games.
“Before we finally managed to get funds to roll out the maintenance, we had to go out as far as Manenberg to find an available field to play our home fixtures, due to the Good Hope LFA season that kicked off. The IY field wasn’t available for us to use for home fixtures,“ the statement said.
For every home fixture, they needed to spend at least R2000 on cleaning and lining the field and fixing bad and broken patches of turf.
“We have tried everything from meetings, emails and calls with follow-ups to the councillor and other various stakeholders with regards to the promised upgrades and maintenance to the field, but we get minimum to no responses on the way forward or updates on any dates as to when the upgrades or maintenance will commence. In our last meeting with the City, we were told budget has been approved and upgrades should start around January 2022. As you can see, we are about to go into May 2022 and still nothing has been done,” the statement said.
Edward Kannermeyer, who played in the Sunday league last year, called it “outstanding but dangerous”.
He said: “We have already seen so many people getting hurt on this turf and at this facility because of the way it looks. We saw somebody badly twisting their ankle because part of the turf came loose. These are things that won’t happen in the rich areas.”
Hangberg deserved a proper facility to develop the youth in their community, he said.
“Fix the facility, not for the people of today but for our youth and the ones who will need that activity for when they grow up.”
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said he had raised the matter with the relevant officials but referred all questions to the mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross, but she failed to comment by deadline, despite repeated requests.