Does the name Reneilwe Aphane ring a bell? Surely it should ring a bell if you constantly find yourself in some or other athletics circle in South Africa. Well, I am talking about the South African triple jump champion, that Reneilwe. Oh, and did I mention he is a world-class coach…

He opened his coaching portfolio when he produced the 2015 South African junior champion Lebogang Maloka who clocked 10.38 in the 100m and 20.99 in the 200m, plus he jumped 7.47m in the long jump. At the time Aphane was only 25! Fast forward two years and the athlete-coach has bagged a national triple jump title, earned coaching jobs at the University of Johannesburg and Prestige College (the best athletics school in SA), and was selected as the jumping coach for the South African u/18 team that represented us at the IAAF World u/18 Championships that took place in Nairobi, Kenya in July. But that’s not the end of the list of athletes he has produced in his short career. Retshidisitwe Mlenga became the first of his prodigies when he took the crown in the 200m final in a packed stadium in Kenya. He also obtained the silver in the 100m before they headed to the relays at the same championship where his training partner Gontse Morake was to bag a bronze medal in the mixed 4x400m relay. Another hurdler, Lindokuhle Gora, also enjoyed an impressive season; the star was ranked the 10th best u/18 athlete in the world in the 400mh at the end of the season, and he represented SA at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas. Add Cheswill Johnson (7.80m long jump), Mpho Links (2.23m high jump), Chris Moleya (2.25m high jump), Jason Tito (7.38m long jump boys u/15 national record) and Zinzi Chabangu (2017 Southern Region Champion) to the list and it clearly shows you that we have a world class coach at hand here. Remember, he is only 27.

“I started coaching part time on my return back from my first year in the US in 2012, but I started full time in 2014 and I really decided to start coaching because I had different take on what coaching is really about abroad. What better way to learn about track and field and coaching from the world leaders, so I decided to share my experience and what I have learned regarding high performance and the development of athlete.” And being the driven person that he is, the Pretoria based athlete made sure he remained updated with the latest research, and the results of his athletes are the prove that his formulas work.

Is this prove that a great future and equal respect lie ahead for young coaches? “To be honest, I have had a grand time coaching so far. Perhaps hints of not being taken too seriously because of my age have surfaced, but nothing big enough to derail my efforts” mentioned Reneilwe. “The idea is understanding that the product is the athlete and I am responsible for the manufacturing process. Come rain or shine that process needs to be carried on so that the final product comes out better than the original. And there is a future for young coaches, the idea is not being shy to learn from the older and more seasoned coaches as well as being innovative in terms of different training philosophies and strategies. The truth is there is always something new to learn that make coaches better and ultimately yielding better results for the athletes.”

Adding to his accolades, and proving that his coaching philosophy works, he coached himself and went on to jump a 16.75m personal best this season. Also now working under his tutelage are re-surging stars Zarck Visser and Duwayne Boer…adding even more fuel to the current athletics fire that is taking place?

The Mbhereko (meaning work) team will be In action the AGN League meeting in Pretoria.


Written by Reggie Hufkie