Jahswill Emmanuel BEM has been named the Sport NI SportMaker Community Coach of the Year in recognition of his work encouraging people of all backgrounds and abilities to participate in sport.

The SportMaker Community Coach of the Year award recognises the outstanding contribution of a coach in getting more people enjoying, engaging and/or excelling in local sport, through high quality delivery.

Jahswill founded Multi-Ethnic Sports and Cultures NI (MSCNI) in 2016 to encourage sports participation for all marginalised groups including youth, women, asylum seekers and refugees from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Community Coach of the Year award winner was also recognised in the 2022 Kings New Years Honours List with a British Empire Medal and in November was given the Point of Light award by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The MSCNI coach shared his passion for sport, he said: “Football is like an instrument. Once you put the football on the pitch, everybody comes. It draws people closer, and they make friendships. Those are the things that inspire me.

“I know that through that I can give them confidence, I can give them teamwork, I can foster a relationship for them. Those things inspired me to get involved in coaching.”

SportMaker Community Coach of the Year Jahswill Emmanuel (right) with Sport NI representative Alan Curran (left)

SportMaker Community Coach of the Year Jahswill Emmanuel (right) with Sport NI representative Alan Curran (left)

MSCNI has helped thousands of people participate in football from the age of five to 60 plus, regardless of sex, ethnicity or ability.

Recently, Jahswill supported a group of refugees to travel to Germany to compete in the UEFA Unity Euro Cup 2023. He has also provided equipment to help those who can’t afford to buy it themselves, breaking down the financial barrier from participating in sport.

MSCNI participants have nothing but good things to say about Jahswill. Adey Anjorin from Inspired FC said: “He’s a selfless person, that goes to every length that he can to ensure everyone integrates comfortably in Northern Ireland.”

Kebron Madhane from MSCNI Youth Club added: “I am grateful that he taught me how to play football because we didn’t have any footballs. When we came, he gave us footballs and started teaching us. Then from there I got good and joined a team. He’s a special coach.”

Malcolm Roberts from the Irish Football Association said: “Jahswill and community coaches like him are vitally important. They reflect our Football for All strategy at the Irish FA. It’s about making football accessible to all people in our communities and Jahswill is a perfect example of that through what he has set up and the programmes that he runs.”

The MSCNI coach also helps run a Syrian community football team and plans events to help teenagers improve their football skills as well as their mental and physical health.

Jahswill concluded: “Receiving the award is very inspirational to me, it’s a great moment. I get satisfaction when I see people doing well, when I see people progressing, I’m happy.”

Richard Archibald, Interim CEO, Sport NI congratulated Jahswill on his award: “Our SportMaker Awards celebrate the coaches, officials, volunteers and projects who go that extra mile to make sport happen in their local communities.

“Jahswill’s influence is widespread, and he is a perfect example of the power of sport to change lives. He has created inclusive environments for people to not only enjoy football but also build friendships and communities here in Northern Ireland.

“Congratulations Jahswill – You are a SportMaker!”

The Sport NI SportMaker Awards give the sporting community the opportunity to showcase their achievements and give special thanks to coaches, officials and volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sport happen. There are 12 award categories recognising achievement at all levels of sports participation, from grassroots through to high performance.