Ukhanyo head coach Nceba Jonas is the lynchpin of the MasiSports team. He has coached sport at the primary school for 20 years, and for 14 years he did so alone. His exceptional wisdom is perhaps best illustrated by the comment he made when he was first asked by Vince van der Bijl what facilities he needed. “Please teach the coaches how to coach first, and the facilities can follow,” were his words.
Nceba tells us a bit more about his journey at Ukhanyo and with MasiSports:
“I come from the Eastern Cape but came to Masi in the holidays when I was in Grade 12. I joined the Pirates football club, and then came to help a friend at the school for after-school sports. There were no facilities, and there was no organised after-school sports – I was just volunteering for the love of the kids and the love of sport.
I started helping the teachers with physical education classes, and there were good people like headmaster Michael Tyali who welcomed my help. Masicorp started paying me monthly for my assistance, and later Vince van der Bijl came along. Things at the school started to change – we started getting better facilities, proper sports kit and joined the leagues.
At first I struggled by myself but other coaches started joining, and teachers have also become a lots more hands-on and very involved in the after-school sports. There’s been a huge change.
The life skills element to our work has been so important. Having other skills are useless without lifeskills, and teaching children from a young age about things like respect is so useful. Academically the kids have improved, and so has their behaviour. Even the litter situation in and around the school has improved. Kids are learning that you can’t respect people without respecting yourself. The children are teaching me!
If my love for Ukhanyo was 30%, it’s now 99%. Not only are the kids being helped, but I’m being helped too. I was just a keen sports player, with no qualifications, but I now have sports management, sports administration, refereeing and umpiring qualifications. I’m a real coach now.”