Ghanaian Sports Legend Passes On

August 2, 2016

Augustine Soga, an athlete, coach and teacher, dedicated his entire life to serving Ghana Sports, but has passed on from this realm to confer with his ancestors.

He transitioned on June 11, 2016, at age 80.

Soga loved sports, participated in and taught it at many levels, coaching and captaining various national and collegiate teams.

For his accomplishments, dedication and sacrifice, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

He dominated Ghana athletics, especially in pole vault, high jump and triple jump from the mid-50’s through the 70’s.

At the national and international levels, Soga represented Ghana in many events: during Ghana-Nigeria (1961-1974), Ghana-Ivory Coast (1964-66) and Ghana-Benin (1962) bilateral athletic meets.

He set a Ghana national pole vault record (using a bamboo pole) that stood for 26 years.

Again, he won three gold medals and silver during the bilateral meets and represented Ghana in pole vault at the 8th British Commonwealth Games in Kinston, Jamaica in 1966.

In 1974, he was appointed by the Ghana Amateur Athletics Association (GAAA) as national pole vault coach to finally introduce fiberglass pole vaulting to Ghana to replace the bamboo pole.

Also, Soga officiated as track umpire and lecturer at the 1994 British Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.

One of the memorable moments of his career was a Gold medal vault in 1974 when took the team to the Ghana-Nigeria bilateral meet as Coach.

When they got there and the teams were announced, he noticed very quickly that the Ghanaian pole vaulters would be no match for the Nigerians. So, he decided to become a competitor instead of a coach.

In order for that to happen, he forfeited his coaching allowance, and won gold for Ghana. That’s the extent of his love for his country.

At the collegiate level, he captained Ghana the Academicals volleyball team and coached all track and field events at different levels.

He was appointed chief coach for Ghana National Academicals Track & Field squad that had great achievements in their international championships.

Soga was selected as chief athletics coach for the Ghana team that went to a Federation of African Universities meet (FASU) in 1974, where Ghana placed second in the Games.

He again was selected to coach the Ghana team that went to FISU (International Federation of University Sports) Games in Mexico in 1979.

Soga had a special ability to spot talent in young people and took pride in training them to become national and international champions.

His trainees broke age-long national records, such as high jump (33 years), women shot put (14 years) and pole vault (26 years).

Inspite of his numerous official commitments, he found time to do voluntary coaching in long distance running, producing several Ghana Milo marathon champions, one of whom went on to win the West Africa marathon title.

Later, he worked at the National Sports Council from 1991 to 1994.

During that period, he served as Ghana Athletics Development Officer/coach, responsible for coaching national rank as well as up-and-coming field events athletes and advising GAAA on technical, developmental, and coach educational issues.

Soga was not only certified by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) but also selected to represent Anglophone Africa in designing, testing and implementing IAAF coaching curriculum for the IAAF Coaching Education and Certification systems.

He was awarded recognition as IAAF Coaching Consultant and Lecturer. In that capacity, he lectured on IAAF coaching courses in Nairobi (Kenya), Stellenbosch (South Africa) and many of the Anglophone African countries.

Sogah was, first and foremost, an educator who had taught at all levels of education: elementary (Alakple, Anlo Afiadenyigba, Atiavi RC, Tegbi RC, Keta RC), secondary (St. Peter’s School and Asamankese) and tertiary (Winneba Specialist Training College).

He lectured in athletics at the University of Education, Winneba, and University of Cape Coast, appointments he held until March 2010 when he first became ill.

Soga was educated at Johannes Gutttenberg University at Mainz in Germany (Special Track and Field Coaching Certificate, 1977-1978), Winneba Specialist Training College, now University of Education (Diploma, Physical Education, 1965-1969), Mount Mary Training College (Teachers’ Certificate ‘A’, 1960-1962), St. Francis Training College (Teachers’ Certificate ‘B’, 1957-1958), and Keta Roman Catholic School (Middle School Leaving Certificate, 1954).

The world around Soga will perform funeral rites befitting his colossal achievements, in his hometown, Tegbi, near Keta in the Volta Region, on the weekend of August 12-13, 2016.

August 13, 2016 will mark the climactic event at the family cemetery at Tegbi, where Soga will reunite with his long-lost ancestors.

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