Regular readers of this newspaper will have met Naa Sheka Riby-Williams through an article in our June 2011 issue. Since then Ms. Riby-Williams has be chosen as a member of Ghana’s National Basketball Team. She left for Mail on August 17th to prepare for Ghana’s drive for a spot in the 2012 Olympics. The following is a brief interview between TAN and Naa Sheka prior to her departure.
TAN: How can you describe your journey through professional sports including Basketball? And how do you think competing in organized sports has contributed to your success as a businesswoman.
Naa Sheka: I have had a 21-year journey through sports so far from basketball, ice hockey, soccer, softball and rugby. All of which I admit has helped me as businesswoman. Sports gave me the discipline, focus, and people skills to help me in the business world. The drive and passion of sports is also what pushes you to be the best you can be. I have always been an extremely competitive individual, I guess its because I have been competing in sports since age 5, I realized in life you have to compete your hardest to achieve success.
TAN: You have been chosen as a member of Ghana’s national basketball team and I understand you leave on the 17th for Mali. How do you feel about being selected for the team and to be able to compete for a spot in the 2012 Olympics?
Naa Sheka: It has always been a dream for me to compete at the highest level possible for women’s basketball. Achievement at this international level and potential Olympic level is truly an honor. I also feel honored that I was selected to represent a country that is part of me and my father’s heritage (my father passed away in 2009).
TAN: What are your hopes and expectations for Ghana’s team.
Naa Sheka: You always have to stay positive and push yourself you’re hardest to get as far as possible. Since Ghana has qualified for this tournament that occurs every 2 years, I hope we make it as far as possible. Our group consists of Mali, Tunisia, DR Congo, and Mozambique. Ghana should have at least one win, competing against these tough nations, through hard work and determination.
TAN: As a very inspiring young multi-talented athlete what advice do you have for our youth?
Naa Sheka: It’s all about youth, as youth are our future! We need to stay positive, stay active and encourage each other. If you have a dream don’t be afraid to follow it, you never know where it can take you. Success is achieved in many ways, but it’s achieved consistently through hard work.
TAN: We wish Naa Sheka and the Ghanian team much success. The tournament takes place September 23 – October 2 in Mali.
Naa Sheka Riby-Williams lives in White Rock and is the founder of the fashion label Naa Sheka. Her brand is sold in Vancouver, New York and Los Angeles. Visit www.westafricanfashion.com