October proved to be a brilliant month for Hout Bay United Football Community (HBUFC), both on and off the field.
The club’s successes belie its status as a small, community-based non-profit organisation, working almost exclusively with players and members who are born and bred in this small fishing village.
The stand-out achievement was the promotion of the women’s team to the Sasol League for the 2022 season. Getting into the Sasol League is no small feat, including multiple play-off games.
The coaching team believe that promotion again into the highest national league, the Hollywoodbets Super League at the end of next season is a real possibility.
The future looks bright, too, with two of the club’s junior teams winning their age groups at the FC Kapstadt tournament, the premier junior tournament in the Cape. Some of the HBUFC junior girls are part of the Rainbow Team going to the Gothia Cup in Sweden next year, and the men’s team had progressed past Ubuntu FC, Zizwe United and FC Milan into the finals of the Nedbank Cup play-offs, just two games from being entered into the main draw with elite PSL teams like Kaizer chiefs and Sundowns.
However, it was not to be as they fell to Santos 1-0 in the penultimate stage off the main competition. That being the only major blemish to the brilliant month that it was.
Away from the field, the organisation runs a string of programmes aimed at empowering and supporting the local community, which have also seen tremendous results.
The first team players are used as mentors and coaches of the 250 children playing junior football, and those who don’t coach are placed in employment across Hout Bay. HBUFC acts as an employment hub with the YES programme, with another 15 community members currently in internships and 25 in full time employment.
Education plays a large role in their work, and through September and October 11 players completed a finance course covering budgeting, debt, savings and investing, and even started their own investment accounts.
A number of high school students attend free extra lessons once a week, and nine adult players are due to start their adult matric programmes in the coming days.
None of this happens without a lot of hard work, though, and the HBUFC Ubuntu volunteer programme brings volunteers over from Europe, with eight young adults and university students currently over and assisting with these initiatives.