Living in Hanover Park isn’t always a trip in the park (pun intended) – but Hanover Park football club is providing inspiration for the community.  On Monday, they proved it yet again when they claimed another SAFA Cape Town Regional Men’s League Trophy. 

Living in Hanover Park isn’t always a trip in the park (no pun intended). It may be a famous part of one of the world’s greatest cities (the third greatest city on planet Earth, to be precise – but who’s counting?), but it’s also an area that saw 16 murders in the past 25 days. That’s why Hanover Park football club is providing another option for youth in the community…and winning trophies along the way. 

“Our success means a lot to the community,” says Hanover Park FC Coach Andrew Pequeno. “The youth need positivity and hope, and we’re trying to give them some of that. My motto is this: rather let our youth end up with a ball at their feet rather than a gun in their hands.” 

On Monday (9 May 2022), this club originating from this very area came together, fought side by side, and beat Cape Town City 5-2 at Malta Park. And with that, the champions lifted another SAFA Cape Town Regional Men’s League Trophy. 

“It was a feeling of relief and elation,” Coach Pequeno notes. “Relief, because it’s been a long season, and having to rotate and keep the players focused has been a big challenge for me and my technical team. Elation, as our hard work and effort have been rewarded throughout the season. We have been very consistent with our results and performances, and every player in our squad has made a contribution towards this league title.” 

With a fixture in front of them against Cape Town City, three points were needed to end the title hopes of the chasers. A 5-2 victory in their backyard later, and the first part of their mission was accomplished. 

But they’re not done yet.

“I am proud of our players and their focus and belief in our structure of play and each other. Now we need to grab the chance to play in the Motsepe league, so in my opinion we can compete strongly for next season.”

Hanover Park FC Midfielder Azeem Samuels believes that the biggest challenge for them as a group is staying consistent in terms of individual performances, because they have such a talented group with a vast skill set, and any dip in form would mean that next week you’d find yourself sitting on the bench. Given that, he’s not too surprised that they managed to claim the league crown.

“For the younger generation. It’s a massive deal,” he says. “But to be honest, for many of us, having played at a higher level and already previously being champions, it’s just another step towards the ultimate goal for this season: to gain promotion by winning the playoffs.”

That’s all part of the plan – what Coach Pequeno refers to as Phase Two for the team and for Hanover Park as a whole.

“Phase Two involves continuing to work hard and winning the playoff spot to get promotion into the ABC Motsepe league,” he says. “We need that as a reward for all our sacrifices and hard work we have all put into this season. This season would be a failure for us if we do not achieve that for our club and our community, ” says Brasse Vanni Park Mentor

This would once again prove the importance of such an entity, and how people of Hanover Park can come together for one purpose and also support each other consistently.

“I’ve been playing football most of my life, and every day is a step towards either breaking out professionally or going the distance with Hanover Park FC,” says Azeem. 

“But for most in the community it’s a welcome distraction from the crime and illegal activities taking place in the area. People look forward to Friday nights under the lights – and we do our best not to disappoint them.” 

Edited by Nicklaus Kruger