Our new Programme Manager Othman is wasting no time getting to know his colleagues, and who better this week than one of TackleAfrica’s top coaches, Daniel Nelson Konunda, known to everyone as Mandela! Mandela is a Level 3 coach, meaning he’s fully graduated from our programme and can facilitate his own training courses in the community. Here’s what he told Othman about his years with us.
Coaching area: Githurai, Nairobi, Kenya
Favourite team: Manchester United
Background: Mandela had been coaching Githurai Junior category all-star team in his hometown Nairobi when he was selected to participate in a three year TackleAfrica coaching programme as part of his work with Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA). With other MYSA coaches across Mathare, Mandela learned to deliver essential HIV education on the pitch using our interactive football drills. He reached the Level 3 certification successfully and found employment in schools and community teams.
Mandela, why Tackle Africa?
I chose Tackle Africa because it’s a unique type of coaching that makes possible the integration of both football and life skills. And the best part of it is the part of life skills that tackles HIV and AIDS.
What is your favourite drill and why?
My favourite drill is ‘Spread the play, not HIV’ because it demonstrates how HIV spread from one person to another especially when you have multiple sexual partners.
What is it like being a Tackle Africa coach to young people?
Being a TackleAfrica coach gives you a very positive image. You are seen like a peer educator and also a football trainer. Finally, you find out that you become a role model to the community and the children that you are coaching.
How has your involvement with TackleAfrica changed over time?
When TackleAfrica came to my knowledge, I was actually holding a basic coaching certificate and used to coach the MYSA’s junior category team. Then, I was selected by TackleAfrica and trained to deliver HIV football drills. This training allowed me to improve my level of delivering training session to players. Thus, I became a facilitator but also a trainer.
What did you learn?
During the TackleAfrica programme, we learned more about HIV and also football skills. And then the best part of it, we learned how to interpret football and HIV education.
What has changed?
Initially, it was quite difficult to find a school where I could coach. But, after taking the TackleAfrica classes and receiving a certificate, I began to be very welcome in my area. I was selected to train in three organisations, one primary school, one secondary school and one private academy. The programme took three years of training. After the first year of training and getting the Level 1 Certificate, it was easier for the school to accept me, while at first it was much harder for the teachers of the schools to trust us.
Now, players are in better conditions to manage HIV and AIDS, because they have the knowledge, and they now understand the community better. Before when people were getting infected, they were isolated by the rest of the kids. After the training, you find out that they can now play together and the HIV positive kids feel happier because they are accepted in the schools and the society. The big change is seen in players because you find out that they can easily and openly address the HIV issue and it is also welcomed by the community leaders.
What does the future hold?
After getting the Level 3 certificate, I now feel I’m in a better position to train a team of coaches and institutional teachers to help them implement the curriculum in their schools and community teams at large.
Any personal message for our readers?
I would like to send my gratitude to the entire management of TackleAfrica for partnering with MYSA, training the coaches on how to integrate football and life skills, and how to live healthy. I’m also very grateful because many coaches have acquired the certification from TackleAfrica and they are now in better position to transform our Kenyan society which is really in need of this education. I believe that in the near future, we will be able to transform the football system in Kenya.
Mandela, the gratitude is ours. Thank you and all our coaches across the continent working to deliver drills in the community and towards an AIDS-free future.
If you are interested in joining coaches like Mandela in Africa and seeing how they use our curricula, please visit http://www.tackleafrica.org/get-involved.