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Harrogate CRI team taste victory in Doncaster

Continuing on with the important work that the Harrogate Town Community Foundation have done with individuals from the CRI Harrogate branch, we are delighted to announce that at a recent tournament held at Doncaster Rovers FC, the CRI (Harrogate) team came in first place.

Coached by Harrogate Town AFC striker Chib Chilaka, the CRI (Harrogate) team battled through six difficult games and managed to win all of them. This feat was made even more impressive by the fact that they only conceded two goals during the entire competition.

Speaking about the team’s success, Chib said:

The CRI offers a great opportunity to those who have struggled with addiction in the past but have chosen to turn things around and give their lives new direction.

So when I was asked to get involved with the scheme aided by Harrogate Town AFC, I jumped at the opportunity to take part and possibly help those involved to use football as a solution.

Initially it began by me just conducting one coached football session for the group but I was asked to continue after hearing of their positive feedback after the session.

From there on, I took it upon myself to make each session enjoyable and informative so that the group would relish witnessing their gradual improvement in the sport, hopefully encouraging them to stay with the programme and keep their focus on becoming better footballers.

Football can also help to build character as you interact with those involved such as team mates, managers, fans and critics. I’ve always felt it was important for the sport to help the group to build character and by encouraging team-work and positive communication in training; these are transferrable skills that will definitely come into play outside of football.

The tournament in Doncaster was an affirmation of just how far the group have come and watching them compete against other teams showed a culmination of the principles we work on during our sessions. It was fantastic to see the confidence of the group when in possession of the ball, stringing together some fantastic moves, working hard off-the ball and scoring goals.

But more importantly to myself and the CRI workers, the team-work and character shown by everyone was incredible and was more likely to be the deciding factor to winning the tournament. We felt that the group were fantastic as a team, realising each other’s ability and sticking together even when under pressure.

Other teams present at the tournament enquired several times whether we were a professional team, in awe of how well prepared the group was. I was filled with joy to see the group celebrating with their winning trophy but also pride to see their improvements before my eyes, knowing that they can hold on to such moments in times of difficulty and recall on the experience to keep them progressing in whatever they choose to do in future.

We aim to continue the positive progress of the group and hope that the success of the tournament will encourage others who have had difficulties to join us on this journey too.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped us at the CRI in Harrogate and everyone involved from Harrogate Town AFC. But most importantly I would like to congratulate the group for their success both on and off the pitch and also thank them for frequenting the sessions and confirming to me the rewards of hard work and good character.


Coming together in 2011, the Harrogate Town Community Foundation have, with the aid of a grant awarded by the Football Conference, worked hard alongside the CRI Harrogate Initiative and are pleased to announce that they have helped several members find employment in the surrounding areas.

Commenting on this success, Harrogate Town Community Foundation Chairman and Harrogate Town AFC Director Tad Nowakowski said:

This is a fantastic achievement for some of these individuals to obtain, and in some cases, regain employment. It makes, not only myself proud, but also that of the entire Community Foundation to know that our efforts and input have resulted in such positive outcomes. This is what community involvement is all about. It is credit to everyone involved, from all sides, that this has happened.


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