Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

11 December 2022

Two (2) athletes coached by Mr Laurence Makhanya have qualified to represent South Africa in Australia after having qualified on trials which were held in Potchefstroom on 03 December 2022.

Mr Laurence Makhanya runs the eMbalenhle Sasol athletics Club with over 9 years as an athletics coach.

Laurence has managed to uplift young athletes from in and around eMbalenhle, with some getting scholarships from Monroe College in the United State of America, while many got the chance to represent the South Africa abroad.

Others have also obtained scholarships locally from TUKS High School of Sports in Pretoria.

Siyabonga Nxowana and Musawenkosi Nkuna were selected in the Mpumalanga team which qualified them to compete in the trials which were held in North West Province.

At the trials, Musawenkosi obtained position 2 meanwhile Siyabonga obtained Position 5 which qualified them to be part of the top 6 Athletes who will be representing the South Africa in Australia next year mid-February.   

The duo said they are excited and ready to board a plane for the very first time, although this means they have to put more effort into their daily training during the December holidays.

They both practices with coach Leonard at the Sasol Club sports field from Monday to Thursday each week.

“Working with Musawenkosi and Siyabonga makes me happy as they are determined and can see the end goal of them working hard.

We face a lot of challenges as a club, sometimes working out of zero budget but we soldier on.

Training shoes and registration fees are the biggest challenges that we face to such an extent that I have to take out of my own pocket”, said Coach Laurence Makhanya as he outlined the day to day struggles at the Club.

The likes of Glenrose Xaba who is a long distance runner was once coached by Mr Leonard.

The coached further mentioned that more than 10 athletes who have qualified to compete overseas from his club, the latest one went to compete on Canada.

“We have learnt a lot of things besides being trained in this club, mostly to respect ourselves and one people we come across.

Being at coach Leonard’s club also help keep us away from bad things such as drugs and peer pressure as we are always on the sports field training almost every day after school”, said Siyabonga Nxowana.

From left: Sizabonga Nxowana, coach Leornard Makhanya and Musawenkosi Mnisi.