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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Mabhida chosen to lead athletics development in KZNA

Prominent South African Athletics coach Xolani Mabhida believes his latest appointment as Co-ordinator of coaches at KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) will be beneficial to the upcoming athletes and coaches too. Mabhida has been tasked with the responsibility of supervising, overseeing the work and identifying the challenges faced by coaches across all districts of the province. He will also track the performance of the upcoming youngsters in order for the federation to assist them to reach their full potential.

Speaking to #TheTopRunner, Mabhida who made a name for himself by producing some of the country's best athletes including Comrades Marathon gold medalist Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, believes that its about time the coastal federation take this step.

Having worked with the likes of Bongumusa Mthembu, Nkosikhona Mhlakwana and Bongelani Mkhwanazi, Xolani Mabhida has been called upon by his province to lead their grassroots development structures. Photo Credit: Snaps by Boni.

"I think the whole thing is long overdue. I think it's going to be a good initiative. Coaches out there are finding it hard to reach out to the federation whenever they have problems. Now with the presence of myself that gap will be closed. I have to be on the road to visit various development hubs all the time in order to hear their challenges," said the man, who also coached three times Comrades winner Bongumusa Mthembu.

"The good thing is that I'm talking their language so it won't be hard for them to express themselves to me. We are planning to assist coaches to get the right badges in coaching to advance themselves. They must be able to keep up with times. By doing so, I'm sure our development structures will be among the best in the country. We lose other athletes in the system but they receive structural support from other provinces. So that must come to an end," he explained.

Young athletes attend one of Mabhida's holiday training camps in December 2023. Photo Credit: Supplied.

The appointment has left Mabhida is optimistic about the future, adding that there are a few programs in the pipeline that will allow them to discover and keep athletic talent in KZN. 

"The province is losing athletes after school because the universities like University of Pretoria and North West are offering scholarships and bursaries to those excelling in sport. So we must engage more with universities within our province to offer the same. In doing so, we would manage to keep athletes and our province will be on the map. It is possible and we must start to have those talks with various stakeholders. My dream is to see more athletes from the province wearing national colours and being up there on medal table when there are youth championships." 

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