Ever heard the popular saying “health is wealth”? This gives large meaning to our life, as health is considered the most valuable and precious for every individual. Good health means not only the absence of disease in the body but a complete physical, mental, social as well as spiritual well-being of an individual.
The benefits of being physically fit include:
- Being healthier
- Increased chances of living longer
- Reducing the chances of depression
- Having stronger muscles and bones
- Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight
Sports is a great part of African Leadership Academy (ALA), and it has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. The sports program started as a side option for those who could not live without physical fitness, to become a fundamental option for those who paid little to no attention to their physical well-being. Sports at ALA boasts a solid administrative team – determined to raise the bar year after year.
As a sports department, we have structured sports in a way that allows both the recreational (internal sports activities) sports program and the competitive (external sports activities versus other schools) sports program to flourish by assigning a director to oversee each of the segments. Mr Joseph Ekpenyong heads the recreational sports program which seeks to create a platform where students to participate in a range of sporting activities offered exclusively to the ALA community. Such programs include the internal soccer and basketball leagues, touch rugby, Frisbee, gym club, tennis, martial arts, power walking and cross country. Some of these activities are student led, which means that students organize, manage and lead these programs, giving them an opportunity to put into practice the leadership skills taught at the Academy. The competitive sports program is coordinated by myself, with the assistance of ten other passionate sports coaches. This ensures that students get the opportunity to compete against other schools in and outside of South Africa. Some of these sporting codes include basketball, which over the years has become African Leadership Academy’s flagship sport; boys and girls soccer which is a favorite amongst the majority of the student body; boys and girls Volleyball which has developed tremendously over the years through the coaching and guidance of Mr Joseph Ekpenyong. The most recent addition to the competitive sports program is track athletics, which promises to catapult sports at African Leadership Academy to the next level.
As a department, we believe that if the Athletics program is sound, then the other sporting codes will also be sound, as athletics is the most challenging to run and manage. The introduction of the athletic program into our roster allows the wonderful opportunity to expose the talented students of our community to competitions of a high standard, which will in turn give exposure to the academy as a worthy participant in competitions, both at the district and at the regional level. With the leadership of Ms Nomsa Mlambo and Ms Nicole Gwindi, the athletic program is set to take off with a great deal of momentum. A keen interest from the founder and CEO, Mr Chris Bradford in helping the coaching team with middle distance athletes, has instilled a great deal of confidence in both the sports department and the whole community, because only with the support of the entire community, sports at African Leadership Academy will truly blossom.
The sports department is certainly going to thrive for consistency in creating a sustainable platform for students to develop their physical wellness, because a person who is fit is capable of living life to its fullest extent. Physical and mental fitness play very important roles in our lives and people who are both, physically and mentally fit are less prone to medical conditions. It is pleasing to recognize the growth and positive changes that the sports department and its program has gone through over the years, especially through the leadership of Mr Delali Ocloo who oversees extra-curricular activities at African Leadership Academy.
About the author: Ntokozo Sibiya is a faculty member in the African Studies Department at African Leadership Academy as well as the Director of Competitive Sports. His profile can be read here.