Mike Mbambani downplays his coach of the year gong

Mike Mbambani downplays his coach of the year gong

The dedicated efforts of acclaimed athletics coach Mike Mbambani have finally been rewarded. Known for avoiding the limelight and deflecting credit, Mbambani found himself in the spotlight when he clinched the coveted Athletics South Africa (ASA) Coach of the Year award.

Gaining attention for his training camp in Ikhamva, Gqeberha, he mentored and transformed 15 athletes into champions. Affectionately called “bra Mike” in athletics circles, he humbly shared with SABC Sport that the award is a collective achievement, attributing its success to the contributions of those who supported him.

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''I'm humbled, it came as a very big surprise. I just want to thank all my athletes for committing, showing a lot of discipline, putting effort  and bringing desired results for the province of Eastern Cape and for South Africa. It shows that persistence can give us a brighter future,'' said Mbambani.

Melikhaya Frans, Simon Sibeko, and Thabang Mosiako, the standout performers among his athletes, brought coach bra Mike to tears as they embraced and celebrated with him. This marked a poignant moment in his coaching career that has spanned three decades. 

''In most cases these things make me very emotional, because we look after athletes that come from hopeless situations and we get to turn them into champions.''

''They fitted well into our Ikhamva camp training program with an intention of making champions. We've got five national champions in our camp'', he concluded. 

Through his tireless dedication, Mbambani, a father of two, has cultivated numerous national champions within the club he co-founded, Ikhamva. As a proud coach, he continues to witness the success born from his hard work. 

Mbambani attributed the award to his family and the collective effort of his team at Ikhamva Athletics Club. 

In the midst of a bustling athletics season featuring the Olympic Games, African championships, and numerous local competitions, Bra Mike’s primary hope for his athletes is to maximise their earnings and financial opportunities.