• Thathe Msimango

Nkhasi finds new club, new coach & new distance

After they announced the signings of veterans such as Poppy Mlambo and Prodigal Khumalo, Top Runner Namakoe Nkhasi has became the latest athlete to join the Hollywoodbets Athletics Club. The man from Lesotho has been running in the colours of Nedbank Running Club for more than five years but when his contract ended last year, he decided to set off in a new direction. "I joined a new club because I needed a change in my environment. I'm happy with the new club and I hope to produce better results " he said.


Nkhasi checks his splits while completing a 40km long run in his new club colours. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

Over the past two years in particular, the Olympian has struggled to recapture the form that form that saw him beat the likes of Lucky Mohale and Gladwin Mzazi to win the 2017 Two Oceans Half Marathon. It is for this reason that the 28-year old not only joined a new club, but has also relocated to Durban to start working with a new coach in Mduduzi Khumalo. Khumalo coaches several athletes including Mbuleli Mathanga and Sipho Mbanjwa. Nkhasi says the move to Durban was also motivated by the fact that he was unable to find good training partners in Johannesburg.


Nkhasi enjoys group training with his new training partners in rural KZN. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"I was struggling to get a training partner when I was staying in Johannesburg then I decided to look for a place where I could join a training group. That's how I ended up joining this group. I love Durban and it's treating me well so far," he shared. Khumalo is over the moon that he has finally been able to lure an athlete whom he has admired for quite some time. He thanks Mbanjwa for bringing the African Championships 10 000m bronze medalist to their training base in Ndwendwe, North of Durban.

"To be straight with you, I have been following the athlete's performance for a long time now. I remember during SA 10km Championship here in Durban (2013) where Nkhasi ended in position two overall (after losing out to Jeromy Andreas in a sprint finish). He was a junior at that time and I was impressed with his running. He is a good athlete that has proven his quality on many occasions. I must thank his friend Sipho (Mbanjwa) for introducing him to me," said an animated Khumalo.


Nkhasi and coach Mdu Khumalo review the training session. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

Khumalo who is the founder of Phantane Athletics Club believes that Nkhasi can run a good time over the 42km distance but needs serious training because he is not in good shape. "I must monitor him closely because his shape needs a lot of work. As of next week, I would put more focus on getting him where he was before." That focus also means a change in focus as the three-time Thembisa Street Mile 10km winner moves up in distance to tackle the marathon. "He is an athlete capable of running 2:08. He is such a great talent and we must not run away from that. He adds a great deal of talent to my training group," said Khumalo.

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