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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'He's like a father to me' - Cacisile Sosibo praises coach Sponge after earning SA Colours

"My biggest wish is to build a home for my family. I want them to live in a decent house and then I can get a car and worry about myself," That's why Cacisile Sosibo runs. Raised in the village of Kilmon just outside the town of Underberg in rural KwaZulu Natal, the 24-year old grew up in a sporty household where her sister Fundi also showed promise as a runner. But it was Cacisile who after an encounter with legendary coach Michael Seme, stayed the course and has now earned selection to the team that will represent the country at the CAA African Championships in Mauritius next month.

Sosibo celebrates after joining Boxer Athletic Club. Photo Credit: Rhyn Swanepoel.

"I'm so happy! When I got the letter that I had been included in the team I felt like jumping for joy," she told #TheTopRunner. After placing third (34:19.85) to take the bronze medal at the ASA Senior Track and Field, Sosibo was named alongside Glenrose Xaba and Cian Oldknow as the athletes that will run the women's 10 000m for South Africa. "It will be my first time representing South Africa. I couldn't believe it when the coach told me I had made it."

That she has earned SA colours for the first time, is a tribute to her hard work and her coach's patience. Having coached the likes of Caster Semenya, Precious Mashele and the decorated Stephen Mokoka, Sosibo will be thanking her ancestors for having the good fortune of being discovered and nurtured by the man affectionately known as Bra Sponge. He spotted her as a junior running for her school in 2015 and after much cajoling, ultimately convinced her to relocate to Johannesburg where she now trains under his watchful eye at the University of Johannesburg track in Soweto.

Michael "Sponge" Seme sharing his wisdom at the Excellence in Coaching conference which was held alongside the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10k. Photo credit: Stillwater Sports/ BackTrack Sports.

"I met him when I was 19 years old. He is like a father to me. He first asked me to come to Pretoria in 2015, but I refused because I was scared. My family was also wary because they didn't know him then. But in 2018 my family agreed to release me to him, and I stayed with him in a camp in Newcastle. Then I moved to Joburg in 2019 when he joined Entsika AC. When he left Entsika I also left and joined Xcel Running Club last year after coach spoke to Mr. Mandla Mngomezulu. Then I joined Boxer Athletic Club at the end of last year after the saw my 33:53 at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10k in October," she explained.

That performance eThekwini at the end of 2021 and a top ten placing in the SPAR Grand Prix overall standings was to open the floodgates to a slew of personal best times run in 2022. In the four months between February and May, Sosibo has bettered her lifetime bests in 3000m (9:51.45), 5 000m (16:48.28), 10 000m (34:19.85) and 10km where she ran 33:25 at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10k to finish 12th overall and as the fourth South African. She says training with fast men such as Namakoe Nkhasi, Ntsindiso, Mphakathi and Jonas Makhele inspires her.

Sosibo in training at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus. Photo Credit: MWMedia.

And in order to achieve her dream of building a home for her family, Sosibo is prepared to sweat. With the SPAR Grand Prix set to kickoff in Gqberha tomorrow and more prize money on the line in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series races in Durban and Johannesburg, there's a lot on the line. "I have run well this year because of teammates that I train with. When we train they push me and tell me not to give up. I'm ready to work. I don't care about which big name is there, when it's time to run then it's time to run!"

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