When Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) appointed Xolani Mabhida in January 2020 as coach for athletics, they knew they had caught a big fish whose reputation precedes him. His track record of success is just what the University needed to support its commitment to developing sports as one of the Institution’s strength.
Xolani knew from the onset that he needed a plan to improve the performance of his young athletes, while also rewarding them for their hard work and commitment. His plan for MUT athletes was to start small, and build up. He would do this by having a short race on Friday and reward the winners with medals. Students are happy to receive such recognition. “They like to have immediate rewards. This encourages them. I would be happy to produce two or more athletes that will win at national level, and come back and influence others with the professional behaviour. I want to share my experience with MUT athletes,” said Xolani.
Sport Officer of MUT, Bongile Ganyile said the University was proud to have somebody of Xolani’s calibre. “Xolani has proven that his coaching skills are at an international level. His work has been recognized nationwide. He has produced a Comrades Marathon winner,” said Bongile.
Bongile said that students were fortunate to have Xolani as their mentor and that his experience and successes as a coach would instil a winning culture in the university’s athletes.
Xolani’s successes include being the first South African young coach to win back-to-back ultimate marathon with Bongumusa Mthembu. Under the guidance of Xolani, Bongumusa won the 2017 and 2018 Comrades Marathon. Bongumusa is known as the ‘King of the Two Oceans Marathon’.
Xolani’s athletes have won gold and silver across a number of athletics categories. He coached a South African team that won gold in Nigeria in 2019, and silver in Croatia in 2018. The 2018 success saw Xolani win silver in the Coach of the Year title at the KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards; second to then Maritzburg United FC Coach, Fadlu Davids.
It came as no surprise when Xolani took the Coach of the Year crown in November 2019 at the KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards. “In 2018 I was second after Fadlu,” said Xolani. “In 2019 I expected to win the first prize.”
The award cemented Xolani’s place at the top of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial coaching hierarchy, in recognition of his athletes’ impact on internationally significant races such as the Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon.
Xolani is a qualified AFF coach with Level 3 coaching certificate. He is qualified as a middle and long distance coach.