CORONADO, Calif. — A Coronado water polo coach is introducing the sport he loves to Ghana. In this Zevely Zone, I met Prince Kofi Asante Sefa-Boakye. Sports have a special way of uniting people and Asante is making a connection that reaches all the way to Africa.
"Go swim to the far end, go swim to the far end and back," said Asante to a young group of water polo players swimming in the San Diego Bay.
Asante Sefa-Boakye was born and raised in Coronado. "I have played the sport water polo here in the US my whole life and I have been able to find a home here," said Asante. His mother was born in Los Angeles, his father in Ghana.
Asante always felt as if he's had two homes: California and Ghana.
"I call it the California of Africa. It's very nice it's a coastal city right there on the water," said Asante.
He became a star water polo player in high school and college in the United States, but one thing one missing. "It's really lonely, when you are a diverse handsome African American in this sport. You don't see too much diversity in aquatics," said Asante. "I was just really tired of being alone in my sport."
So, a year ago, he did something about it. He introduced the sport he loves to children who have never played water in Ghana. "There was nobody playing water polo," said Asante who told me the water is beautiful in Ghana, but there was a problem. Only a small percentage of the people he met knew how to swim. "A very small percentage," said Asante.
Not only did Asante introduce them to his favorite sport but he also saved some lives by teaching them how to swim. "Exactly right. There is a big water safety issue and that really just comes down to that lack of access," said Asante.
"I think that is extraordinary. I think he is using their skills to a great use," said 15-years old water polo player Ollie Ridge. He and other San Diegans were taking a water polo camp organized by Asante in the San Diego Bay. The athletes usually play water polo in a pool, but Asante has a way of breaking down boundaries.
"Such an amazing human being," said Jennifer Balanay. She is one of many parents supporting Asante's program in Ghana. "The fact that he is doing something that is so giving to a country that is less fortunate is so selfless," said Jennifer.
"Created the first water polo league in Ghana and the first water polo club. Seven teams from seven regions. Boys and girls," said Asante. If you're starting to think this guy sounds like a prince, you're right. "Prince Asante is my name," said Asante. His grandfather was the chief of a prominent Ghana tribe and leadership runs in the family. "It feels amazing I am not even going to lie, it feels great," said Asante. So do the donations he sees flowing into his Go Fund Me Page. "It helps a lot. People don't realize whatever you donate it goes a long way," said Asante who can't stop smiling. "I can't man, I'm a happy guy," said Asante.
Asante wants to pass along the famous African Proverb which states: "If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together." Asante has also launched a non-profit called Black Star Polo to teach the game to inner-city youth.
Before every water polo match, lifeguards in Ghana teach CPR and water safety lessons. Asante says no donation is too small. If you'd like a link to his GoFundMe page, click here.
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