Mr Fitness keeps Downs on the up
Karate master KB Rangoaga knows how to chop his Premiership players into shape
He is usually the first to arrive and the last to leave a football pitch, and is credited with Mamelodi Sundowns’ phenomenal fitness levels.
Meet Mamelodi Sundowns fitness trainer Kabelo “KB” Rangoaga, the unassuming specialist who is embedded in every aspect of physical preparation and the conditioning of coach Pitso Mosimane’s team.
Mosimane refers to the 34-yearold as “the team’s most important member” and the “unsung hero” in the Brazilians’ technical staff.
“He is one of those who don’t get credit. KB runs the programme because he decides when and how we should conduct our training sessions,” said Mosimane, who recruited Rangoaga in September 2014.
Mosimane believes he has recruited a man with the know-how when it comes to elite performance.
The results are in the massive improvement in the team’s training regimes, which reflect Mosimane’s emphasis on a high-tempo style of play and the ability to last for the entire 90 minutes of a game.
Rangoaga’s signature training methods include high-intensity sessions that he conducts on match days, which he says are tailored for unused substitutes and players who play for less than 30 minutes on the day.
“The session is short, but it keeps all the players on the same level of fitness, even those who are not regulars in the team,” he explained.
Despite his background as an accomplished karateka with six Karate World Championships gold medals, Rangoaga and Mosimane have been on the same wavelength from the start.
The two met in 2010 during Bafana Bafana’s training camps at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus, the base of Rangoaga’s former club Platinum Stars.
“I understand the coach’s philosophy and I am able to get players to their optimum performance to execute the plan,” said Rangoaga, who hails from Mosenthal, a mining village outside Rustenburg in North West.
He studied sports science and constantly attends international workshops abroad to keep abreast of the latest trends in his speciality. Rangoaga was at Barcelona in Spain Mosimane has been afforded the rare luxury of fielding an almost unchanged line-up for the better part of Sundowns’ pursuit of the Absa Premiership title.
“[Rangoaga] has minimised injuries since he joined the club,” said the coach.
“I have followed KB from my days coaching Bafana. He showed interest in the physical-training job and he did well under a Dutch guy called Raymond Verheijen, one of the best in the world.”
Verheijen is a well-respected fitness trainer who made a name for himself as a member of the coaching staff of national teams at four World Cups and four European Championships.
Rangoaga first made his mark with Platinum Stars, a team he turned into the fittest in the league. They went on to win the MTN8 Cup and Telkom Knockout three years ago.
“I joined Stars by chance after I was called in to help to prepare the team for their friendly against England [the national team] in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup. Jason Raine [Stars’ former general manager] said I should name the prize afterwards – to work with the team full time.”
A few years on, Rangoaga has established good contact with clubs abroad, thanks to his annual pilgrimages overseas.
He could in the end turn out to be Sundowns’ best signing in years.
MR FITNESS Sundowns fitness trainer Kabelo Rangoaga has been credited with the league-leading team’s phenomenal fitness levels. Here, he is taking the squad’s reserve players through an intense training session after Sundowns’ win over Orlando Pirates in Soweto midweek