BASKETBALLghana.com editor Patrick Akoto pays a chilling tribute to legendary Ghanaian coach Mathias Ocloo who passed away on Thursday.
The death of Mathias Ocloo, the celebrated veteran Ghanaian basketball coach and mentor, has triggered a national outpouring of affection and admiration for one of the best-known figures in the game in the West African nation.
An unassuming character, the 71-year-old died on Thursday February 16 after a protracted ailment.
Mr Ocloo was well liked by everyone that he came in contact with, and was remarkably successful too, but as evidenced by the flood of tributes that poured in after the news broke, he touched the hearts and minds of almost every person who worked with him.
The veteran had the biggest impact on players and officials who came into contact with him as he virtually played a role in their steady rise.
The hugely respected veteran was heavily involved in the upbringing of basketball talents for more than two decades.
Almost all the current coaches, referees and players in the West African country have at some point being mentored by the man who has joined his ancestors.
He committed his life to being a guardian of the game, the advancement of proper coaching education and development of basketball across borders contributing significantly to the growth of the game.
Throughout his career, Ocloo made tremendous contribution to the development and expansion of basketball in Ghana.
He was one of the few faces who embraced wholeheartedly the idea of developing and promoting the game when an Accra-based event management organization, Rite Sports, came into the picture 10-years ago.
His contribution and wise counsel went a long way to ensure the smooth agenda of making basketball the number two preferred sport for the youth in Ghana.
Today competitions like the Sprite Ball Championship and UPAC Game in particular have come to stay and gained inches in the Ghanaian press.
It’s been a humbling experience, privilege and honour working with him side by side over the past decade or more.
It’s been a tremendous opportunity and wonderfully rewarding to see him guide the development of many talented players and coaches over two decades.
The deceased St Mary’s basketball trainer played a critical role in identifying and nurturing junior basketball talent in Ghana by teaching the young players the mental, physical and technical skills while teaching coaches the expertise needed to perform at the elite level.
Since his appointment as the Technical Director of Rite Sports, he provided leadership, advice and expertise in ensuring the various competition run as smooth as anything.
He was highly regarded not only within the basketball fraternity but also in the broader coaching community for his experienced and knowledge, exceptional teaching skills, coaching expertise and willingness to enhance opportunities for learning and growth in the broader sporting development.
We have been shell-shocked by his unfortunate demise and will forever remain in our hearts.