Mulbah Zaza, the president of the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF), says he is pleased with the 15 coaches who passed the Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) IAAF Level I Course, held in Monrovia from October 16-27.
Speaking at the closing program over the weekend, the LAF boss said it is the first time in 10 years the IAAF Level 1 Coaching course was being held in the country, and the first time since the course was revamped by the IAAF in 2016.
He thanked the Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC), which sponsored the course, and the Ministry of Youth & Sports, for the technical support. The IAAF CECS Level 1 Course was conducted by Ezra A. Gunen of Nigeria and Salamatu Musa of Ghana.
A total of 24 potential coaches and physical education instructors started the 11-day course, but two eventually dropped out, with the 22 completing the course.
According to the two IAAF lecturers, 15 out of the 22 participants passed the practical and written examinations; while two were automatically qualified to do the IAAF Level 2 Course. An executive member of the LAF added that besides the two that who qualified for the IAAF Level 2 Course, the LAF can also recommend anyone who passed the IAAF Level 1 Course to also take the IAAF Level 2.
Samuel P. Kiazolu, Emmanuel U. C. Agu, Samuel C. Cooper, Timothy S. Kollie, Marie Tarawalley, Iaveline E. Corneh, Comfort N. Myers, Weabeh E. Freeman, Clara Williams, Jefferson Thomas, Ibrahim S. Kaikai, Varney P. Sheriff, Aratus J. Larkpor, Archie S. Nagbe and Leroy M. Sonpon, III. passed the practical and written exams.
The instructors – Gunen and Ms. Musa, in separate remarks thanked the LAF for their hospitality, the participants for their attendance, and stated their time in the country was rewarding.
Ezra indicated that “physical education” should be considered a degree course to be taught in colleges and universities, while Salamatu urged the coaches not to shelve their certificates, but help to promote and develop the sport.
The Assistant Minister for Sports, Murvee Gray, on behalf of the government, hailed the lecturers, the LAF and the LNOC for the course and the participants for their time.
“I was made to understand there was a very high success rate and I’m so elated by this. I cannot wait to see the kind of work that you are going to put out,” Minister Gray said.
The Assistant Secretary General of the LNOC, Ahmed Tukpah, said: “We are proud of all of you, those who passed and those who did not, for your time. Everyone has learned. You were thorough and this would move athletics, if you give out what you have learned.” Tukpah said athletics was chosen for the course because athleticism is part of every sport, and includes jumping, running, kicking and throwing.
The theoretical and practical teaching and exam were delivered at the UL Fendall Campus, and the theoretical examination and closing program were held at the Salvation Army Technical School on 1st Street.
The newly certified coaches bestowed several tokens of appreciation on the instructors, including country cloth gowns with their names inscribed on the back.
“The completion of the IAAF Level coaching course came by perseverance to convince the country that athletics is the mother sport and also the IAAF that Liberia has been knocking on your door for a long time. A year after the course was revamped we have now benefited,” said Frederick Krah, LAF Secretary-General.
“We want to add our voice and say we are confident that this training would really do well for Liberian athletics,” he said.
Krah appealed to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to include the LAF in its budget because the success of the federation’s programs depends heavily on financing.
Though the LNOC and the LAF are tightlipped on the cost of the course, it has been put at about US$15,000 – part of a LNOC grant from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help its local associations/federations prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.