Youth Unstoppable Patience keen to share love of rugby with others

Rugby has helped Patience overcome her shyness, and now she wants to help more young women and girls in Ghana benefit from the game.

Playing rugby has helped Patience overcome her shyness, and the Youth Unstoppable is now determined to help more young women and girls in Ghana benefit from the game.

Patience admits that she is naturally “fearful” of talking in public, however, the schoolgirl from Accra is now more than happy to talk about her passion for the oval ball.

Introduced to the game via a Get Into Rugby programme while at junior high school, she was attracted to it by the combination of physical and mental attributes that it requires.

“As a player, when the ball has been given to you, you have to be smart and sharp as well,” she told World Rugby. 

“It’s all about smartness. So, from day [one], it's making me build a lot of confidence when I play rugby.”

Patience has since dedicated herself to the game, playing and training five times a week when she is at home in Accra.

The boarding school that the 18-year-old attends during term time does not currently offer rugby, but Patience diligently watches videos in order to ensure that she does not forget the skills she learns at home.

She also posts clips on social media in the hope that it might encourage more of her classmates to pick up an oval ball.

“I normally miss playing rugby [at school]. When I was in form two I brought a little phone of mine just to watch little videos of it or else I might lose some little skills,” Patience said.

“As I was selected as a Youth Unstoppable I can also help my friends to communicate about rugby and maybe they might even have an interest in it. 

“Maybe they also can be selected as one of the Youth Unstoppables too one day.”

Inspiring others

Patience is determined to become the best player she possibly can be, and says she would be proud to represent the Ghana national team.

Playing international rugby would not only be the culmination of a dream but could provide her with a platform to motivate others, as World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade, Portia Woodman has inspired her.

“She’s a motivated woman, and the way she runs is [exciting],” Patience said.

“When I'm able to get where Portia Woodman is, I might also help someone… So we can help people to go further.”

Beyond playing, she is interested in coaching in order to pass on that passion to the next generation and also, ultimately, harbours an ambition to become the president of the Ghana Rugby Union.

Unsurprisingly, as president, Patience says she would introduce rugby to more secondary schools and universities in the hope of growing the game further.

Coming out of her shell

Ghana Rugby Union board member, and national team captain, Rafatu Inusah has watched Patience’s development first-hand having organised the Get Into Rugby programme through which the Youth Unstoppable discovered the game.

“When the training started… she was kind of a shy person who didn't like to talk,” Inusah said.

“I'm very happy knowing that this quiet girl, in her shell, is now coming out boldly to talk for herself, not for me, to be in a team, to communicate and to be as one and knowing that she didn't leave her values from home and for the society.

“She still carries all the values on and off the field, she keeps her values in terms of rugby and in terms of the society, to give back to the society. 

“So, I'm very proud and happy that rugby has given her the chance to come out of her shell.”

Inusah has acted as a mentor to Patience, and stepped in recently when her uncle suggested she should stop dedicating so much time to rugby.

It was Inusah’s intervention, and her belief in Patience’s potential, that convinced him to let her carry on and he was as proud as anyone when he found out his niece was going to be a Youth Unstoppable.

“Rafatu is a very good woman, in the first place she has really helped me. She's really important to me, because from [the start] she was the one who helped me,” Patience said.

“She always gives me advice, every single day.

“She always talks about when I'm on the field, that I should be smart in playing it and I shouldn't be scared when the ball is on the top, most of the time I'm scared when the ball is from the top! 

“And, she normally tells me that I should take good care of myself, respect my parents and all that.”

Patience takes those lessons with her, whether she is on the pitch or attempting to convince one of her classmates to give the game a go.

Patience first picked up an oval ball when a Get Into Rugby programme visited her junior high school in Ghana.

She found that she was a talented playmaker and her love of the game has helped her to overcome her shyness, as she has become a vital member of her team.

When she is at home in Accra, Patience plays or trains with her team, Conquerous Ladies SC, five times a week and she is determined to become as good a player as she can be.

During term time, Patience attends a boarding school that does not currently play rugby. In order to maintain the skills she learns at home, she watches videos and also posts on social media to try and encourage more of her friends and classmates to start playing.

Patience’s rugby idol is Black Ferns winger Portia Woodman, who she admires for her determination and speed. 

The 18-year-old hopes to emulate Woodman by playing international rugby, and says that “when I'm able to get where Portia Woodman is, I might also help someone”.

Patience has been helped on her journey by Ghana Rugby Union board member Rafatu Inusah, and like her is interested in coaching as a way to share her passion for the game with the next generation. 

Her ambitions do not stop there either, as Patience has also indicated her desire to one day become the president of the Ghana Rugby Union, and introduce the game to more schools throughout the country.

Last updated: Apr 10, 2022, 9:29:48 PM
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