Why basketball star Annrose turn to assisting grassroots athletes

By Lynette Matheka
Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Equity Bank Hawks’ player Annrose Mandela. Photo/PD/Rodgers Ndegwa

Kenya Basketball Federation Women’s League Most Valuable Player Annrose Mandela has turned her attention to assisting grassroots athletes attain the right health and fitness training.

Ndella, as she is popularly known,  is concerned that these group of sportsmen and women rarely get professional guidance.

The star helped Equity Bank Hawks bag their third league title last year,  a personal accolade, she says, was achieved largely because of her understanding of her body works since getting into health and fitness coaching.

“Growing up with athletic parents, my father being a professional boxer and my mother a netball player, I was into sports from a young age.

I settled for basketball in high school and have been playing since. It was, however, not until 2018 when I gained interest and got into health and fitness training,” said Mandela.

“My desire to understand the difference in athletes’ performances, how my body works and how I could get better at basketball pushed me to get into this career path.

I can confirm that a large percentage of the workrate last season and being named the league MVP was due to this understanding of how my body works and applying that in my training and playing.”

While still playing for former champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in 2018, she teamed up with a friend and started training group of fitness enthusiasts.

After three years, she was certified and she started her own heath and fitness brand, Ndella Fitness, with the tagline ‘You are Limitless’.

“Right now Ndella Fitness offers services like personal training, aerobics, weight control, strength training, mobility classes and nutrition advice, as well as children’s fitness.

I am currently training for my strength and conditioning, physiotherapy and nutrition certifications.

I am focused on building my brand first then extend my services to those athletes in the grassroots who have no access to this type of expertise.

I have worked with Far East Basketball Association for a start and my vision is to roll out the same programmes nationally,” she added.

According to the former Eagle Wings, there is a shortage of knowledgeable people to engage most coaches and athletes in the country on health and fitness.

People just train without first understanding how their bodies work and therefore cannot get maximum results.

Her love for community work has pushed her to fill that gap.

Mandela argues that she has achieved everything in local basketball and her only plan now is to contribute to the success of her team as she builds her health and fitness career.

“I cannot dream of playing professional basketball now. I will keep playing locally for as long as I can.

If I was younger maybe I would give professional basketball a thought. However, I am now fully devoted to my career,” she said.

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