By now everyone knows about the success story of HBUFC this season. How the team narrowly survived relegation in their first two seasons and playing this year with Hout Bay based players only. How they were able to not only win the SAB League, but also the playoffs, thereby ensuring their spot in the ABC Motsepe League next season.
Considering the obstacles and that many have attempted the feat it is quite a significant achievement.
What has caused this massive turnaround? What was different this year compared to the seasons before? The question should really be, who? As the main new ingredient in the HBUFC pot this season was new head coach, Bradley August.
We had so many questions as to this tale but more from a coaching point of view because winning a league is the ultimate goal for any senior coach, isn’t it?
The fact that this team had a total turnaround and that a coach could be the influence, inspires us to want to find out more of how he did it. The only logical next step was to ask the former Bafana Bafana player about it and he obliged to share which already speaks volumes for the character of the person.
Early in our conversion it was quickly established that this “no nonsense” coach is clear on his goals. To quote him “it’s my way or the highway”. This is to be understood as Bradley is aware of how simple the game is and what is required to translate his plans to his players. The ability to communicate and understand his players is the key in his success of building stable and winning teams. He wants to know about their character, personality and what makes them tick as he also believes “Always make sure the players are happy”.
Many wouldn’t have thought that the ex Vasco (NFD) assistant coach and league winning Glendene (2nd Div) coach would move to a SAB League team in Hout Bay. To add, he wasn’t able to bring in any outside players.
One needs to understand his working philosophy. It’s all work and work hard with Bradley when it comes to football coaching. The idea of not doing something 100% correct is nonexistent in the coach’s mind. The hard work and winning mentality comes from his early days as a player when he was at Hellenic from the age of 14 under the watchful eye of Gavin Hunt. Being mentally strong and being a winner is key for the coach and exceeds the need to just play “pretty” football as his current HBUFC side proved that a team can win and play attractive football. To quote August in an interview after his overseas return “I don’t think I made it because I am a good player – it was all due to my mental strength which I got from the situations I grew up in” (http://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/sport/bradley-augusts-back-home-614489)
As we prompt the coach for clear actions and moves he made to bring about the change in the team we slowly realise that these changes were forced because of circumstance and the ability of the coach to face challenges head on. Timing was also a factor as crucial additions to the team were made when Hellenic sold their franchise which allowed Hout Bay players to be freed. The same with youth players which were released from Cape Town City during the mid season transfer period. Bradley also revealed how an infield player became their first choice goal keeper.
How was the league won?
Like many coaches have experienced, the season had all its challenges with regards to player management, field resources and so on. It’s no magical intervention which caused the team’s success. Hard work, proper planning, committed staff, clear communication and most importantly, mental strength of the players carried them over the finish line. A typical example of the unit’s work ethic is when many of their opponents were on a Christmas break; the Hout Bay team were in training.
The ability of August to adapt to match situations and keep players motivated were also crucial aspects of the season.
After winning the league the focus shifted to the playoffs and a realization that the side was in trouble before they even set foot on the bus to Morreesburg for the playoffs.
To be continued…….