Dating back to antiquity, sports in the form of physical activity has been linked to recreation, security, survival, and other cultural practices in Africa.
However, recognition of sports and whether it can play a role in supporting employment is an African issue being considered by African governments. Due to the nature of sports in Africa, recognizing sports as a field of study is something many Africans are still not accustomed to.
From the baking desserts in the north to the cool beaches of the south, Africa is a continent with spectacular landscapes, awesome wildlife, and rich culture. Africa is also a continent of sporting prowess and sporting talents. Sadly, however, there is a lack of sporting opportunities for many young athletes.
Many might believe that this stems from scenarios of domestic athletes not being paid well, and inappropriate or inadequate facilities for leisure currently in Africa. Countries across the continent in the present and in the future would require focusing on sectors that have substantial economic potential for competitiveness in both domestic and foreign markets, which will in the long term create jobs for the labour market.
Undoubtedly sports can make a positive contribution in helping to increase Africa’s labour market, eventually leading to the creation of a professional formal sporting sector. Many of the functions within the sports industry are service-based, which means it will be a labour-intensive industry.
If you are passionate about sports and have decided to attain a degree in that field, you would be pleased to know there are a lot of opportunities for you out there that you may have overlooked or simply didn’t know you could work with as a degree holder in sports. Sports jobs are plentiful and varied, read on to help you decide which sports job is the one for you.
A Physical Education Teacher
To become a physical education (PE) teacher, you will typically need to have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education or a relevant discipline, followed by postgraduate teacher training. You will also need to be able to demonstrate a number of skills such as excellent communication with both your pupil and your colleagues, being patient and caring, and strong organizational skills with an understanding nature among many others.
As a PE teacher, you might work in a primary or secondary school, conducting lessons for children and adolescents. Most of your lessons will be in line with the national school curricula, which will help you utilize your creativity and communication skills to interact and engage with pupils by helping them to participate in a variety of sports. Which provides a fun and healthy learning environment.
As a sports therapist, your role is to ensure that people performing in sports or involved in any form of exercise are training and competing as safely as possible. You are typically the first to respond to occurrences of sports-related injury, and employ a vast range of techniques to help rehabilitate the patient back to his or her full health and strength.
Even though relevant academic qualifications may prove useful for a career in sports therapy, sufficient work experience, professional training and appropriate training and coaching qualification will hold more value. Your kind of job can be found either in sports injury clinics or directly with individuals or teams. You are expected as a sports therapist to work amid a team of trainers, managers and doctors, and be prepared to work outdoors no matter the weather. And you should be ready to travel both domestically and internationally particularly when you are working with a team.
Sports coaching allows you to assist either passionate sports individuals or teams to hone their abilities and achieve their highest potential in particular sports like soccer, athletics, and lawn tennis among others. You may work closely with professionals or semi-professional sports teams or individuals. You would have to plan and implement suitable training routines to help boost the participant’s fitness levels and maximize their performance.
It takes more than a sports-related academic qualification, thus you may need relevant coaching qualifications and experience more importantly. Hence if you want to sports coach so badly you have to be patient and accumulate experience by learning from others who have been in the game for years.
Unlike fitness or gym instructors, a personal trainer is typically more qualified in terms of fitness knowledge and expertise and may offer tailored health and exercise advice to clients. Personal trainers create individual-based fitness programs or routines for clients to assist them to achieve their fitness goals like weight –loss, muscle gain and strength goals, using a range of modern equipment and classes, either indoors or outdoors
To become a professional personal trainer, you will need to hold a recognized diploma or degree in a relevant discipline. In addition to a wide range of personal skills and enough work experience. Once you commence your career, you would need to work irregular hours in order to meet your client’s demands. Though this may depend on whether you are working for a gym or self–employed.
Sports and Exercise Psychologist (SP)
A strong state of mind is of utmost importance in any sports field, as the mind is an important element to one’s success or failure in a game. It is therefore paramount to have a sports psychologist for teams or individuals involved in sports.
As an SP you would work largely with both professionals and amateurs, coaches and referees. You are like the heart of the whole sports team, you offer services based on the role of psychology in sports and its impact on performance. You help to prepare sporting professionals for the challenges and wide-ranging demands of their careers.
Being an SP you may be needed at universities, and colleges and would need to be ready to meet different reactions from clients as people react differently in similar situations like failure and rejection. Is therefore important to be ready for the task ahead.
In this modern day where the world has become a global village, you can use the internet to your advantage and earn a job in Africa. This might sound like a hoax, but there is a possibility of making it big as a sports blogger if your website and blog posts bring in significant traffic and if you have advertisers using your blog’s ad space. For this type of career, you will need to be very creative with your writing skills and do sufficient research on your topics to make them more lively and interesting to your readers.
A Financial and Contract Analyst
As with any Organisation, sports teams try to be fiscally efficient as possible, which is why they need to have a financial and contractual analyst. You will be tasked with analyzing available funds, capital, and expenditure to maximize revenue and report on performance to the owners and managers of the team. You may be asked to analyze contracts to ensure that they reflect the values of the team and that the players are being paid fairly for their performances.
The opportunities in Africa are endless within the sports industry, it’s high time we start to invest in these career options within sports teams and with professional sportsmen and women. We need a comprehensive understanding that – it takes efforts and contributions from various individuals for us to enjoy and be proud of our players and the games we love.
Next time you might want to take a second look at the sports industry and see the potential and career opportunities within.