ASA appoints Mike Mbambani as the Marathon coach for the Olympic Games

ASA appoints Mike Mbambani as the Marathon coach for the Olympic Games

Athletics South Africa (ASA) Coach of the Year Michael Mbambani, expressed deep gratitude upon being named the head coach for the federation’s Olympic Games marathon team.

With consecutive wins of the Eastern Cape Athletics Coach of the Year award, Mbambani brings a wealth of experience to his oversight of the six-athlete marathon team scheduled for the upcoming Games in July/August.

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Last year, he coached the marathon team at the World Senior Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and marked his first opportunity to coach a team at a major world event, a responsibility he embraces with profound humility.  

''It is everyone's dream to be a part of such a set up and it is even better when you know that you have been appointed on merit, I am honoured,'' said Mbambani. 

Gerda Steyn, Cian Oldknow, and Irvette Van Zyl secured their spots in the Olympic Games, forming the complete three-woman marathon team.

On the men’s side, Stephen Mokoka is the sole athlete to have qualified for the 42.2km marathon team, leaving a notable gap.

However, with two months left before the June closing of the qualifying window, Mbambani remains composed and optimistic, unfazed by the current situation.

''We can never be able to say that, the difference in running is self determination, athletes need to commit. If Stephen is the only one who is committed to that, good luck to him,'' added Mbambani.

Melikhaya Frans, under the guidance of Coach Mbambani, is currently in Italy, preparing to compete in the Milan Marathon scheduled for Sunday.

Meanwhile, Simon Sibeko is gearing up for the Durban International Marathon later this month, aiming for a qualifying time of 2 hours and 8 minutes.

Coach Mbambani has high hopes for both athletes, particularly for Frans to secure qualification among the elite runners heading to Paris later this year.