Teddy Nyali conducting a life-skills session before children take to the field
If there’s anyone who knows about the power of sport to change lives, it’s Teddy Nyali, MasiSports sports co-ordinator and coach, based at Ukhanyo Primary School. Teddy is also an administrator along with Ukhanyo’s head coach Nceba Jonas, and together they lead the school’s sport programme with Fez Payi.
“Sport had a hugely positive impact on my life. I started playing rugby when I was 11 in the Eastern Cape. I came to Masiphumelele when I was in high school. It was a tricky time in my life and I joined the wrong groups and failed Grade 11. I was sent back to the Eastern Cape as a result. I focused on rugby again and worked hard so that I could come back.”
That focus resulted in Teddy returning to Cape Town and finding rugby and purpose in a permanent coaching role.
“After school I got a job at Compass Bakery near Masi, and spent my spare time playing rugby for Masi Rugby Club. It was tough to attend practice because of my job, however, and I was told about the Good Sport Programme, which I joined. I learnt how to coach and was placed in local schools so that I could do more of it. After I was retrenched I joined the CoolPlay programme, where I learnt how to teach life skills using the medium of sport. I was based at Ukhanyo, and now work here full time, and am part of MasiSports.
His long history with the school and the community means he has witnesses the development of sport, and the changes it has created for the children.
“I really enjoy being able to watch Masi’s children play inter-school sport. It’s so important for them to travel to other schools and play away. Even if we lose badly, the friendships formed on the field and after the match are incredibly valuable.”
For Teddy, who has also completed a sports managaement diploma, watching the kids grow is a satisfying part of the job. “I stay in the community, and am a mentor to many of the children, and hope that I do my part to teach them about discipline and respect.”