Enoch Denkiyrah

Enoch Denkyirah has always been small for his age. At school that led to him being bullied which in turn caused him to become withdrawn and very shy. His circle of friends was small and his evenings were spent mostly at home.
That all changed when he joined NASSA three years ago. Enoch may still be small in physical stature yet he is big on ambition and deep in talent on the court. He is also one of the most popular players in the Newham All Star Sports Academy. His transformation into a confident young man was complete when he gave an assured performance as a spokesperson for NASSA as the BBC London cameras visited the CABNAB Fifth Anniversary event in September.
Enoch said: “It was great. It didn’t feel like I was actually being filmed on the telly but it was great to see myself the next day. A lot of people at school saw it too and I was like a celebrity at school for the next day or two.”
Enoch plays at point guard for the NASSA under-13s National League team, national champions in the 2013-14 season. His dribbling and shooting ability wins him the respect of his teammates and opposition players.
“When I first came to NASSA, people just thought I was younger than my age, but as I’ve grown older it has helped me as a little man that I have progressed. Through the confidence that I have, people respect me as well. If I do something good on the court, they pass to me more, so I get more involved now.
“NASSA has given me a lot of friends in the community among people that I wouldn’t normally interact with, so I have friends now that I wouldn’t have had.
“NASSA has also helped me to build my confidence and given me a thing to do apart from just staying at home and doing nothing. It has given me something to look forward to each week. And it has given me an ambition to do something else in the future – to be in the NBA or the Euro League. Or if I don’t achieve that, then to manage either my own bank or a very wealthy bank like HSBC.”
NASSA’s founder Natasha Hart is thrilled by the development of Enoch as a young person, just as she is with all of the NASSA youngsters.
Natasha said: “Enoch has developed enormously. He has opened up completely. He spoke so confidently on BBC London and has hosted awards ceremonies for NASSA even though he is still only 13. He has gained leadership skills and always puts himself forward. Everybody loves him.”
Enoch has also embraced the “Carry A Basketball, Not A Blade” (CABNAB) campaign which NASSA uses to educate its players and local schoolchildren about the dangers of knife crime and gang culture.
Enoch, who travels from his home in Stratford to attend every training session and NASSA match, added: “At first I thought CABNAB was just a charity. I never really knew anything about it. I was just there to play basketball but now I really understand that NASSA is not here just for basketball, it’s to help young people in Newham to get off the streets and stop having street fights and killing each other.”