Khu­malo: A doctor of sport

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

IN or around 1993, Bu­l­awayo and Mata­bele­land North ath­let­ics had the priv­i­lege to have dy­namic and hun­gry for suc­cess ath­let­ics coaches.

Among them was Bhekuzulu Khu­malo, now a Na­tional Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy lec­turer, whose pur­suit of higher sport has seen him study sport to a level where he has earned the ti­tle doctor.

His is dif­fer­ent from “Dr” Luke Ma­somere or Theophillus “Doctor” Khu­malo, the for­mer Kaizer Chiefs mid­field ma­gi­cian whose names are en­graved in foot­ball folk­lore. His is among the most un­der­rated and cel­e­brated in ath­let­ics de­spite him openly say­ing he is where he is be­cause of his ex­ploits as a coach in ath­let­ics for club, prov­ince and coun­try.

“Hon­estly with­out ath­let­ics I would not be where I am to­day,” he says with a proud smile af­ter a mo­ti­va­tion speech to kids in Pu­mula South on Tues­day, a group mo­ti­vated to road run­ning by their neigh­bour, Faith Ng­wabi, a pupil at Mag­wegwe Se­condary School.

He has come through the mill from a school­boy who would clap hands and cheer once the school truck went up a bump or ditch on Mata­bele­land South ru­ral roads on the way to events soon af­ter In­de­pen­dence.

His name is high up there among coaches who changed the ath­let­ics land­scape in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Khu­malo (54) has prob­a­bly been the only for­mer ath­lete in re­cent years to have gone that far in pur­suit of aca­demic ex­cel­lency. From early ex­po­sure in his early 20s where he saw the ap­pli­ca­tion of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy in sport in the 1980s, he is among Nust staffers look­ing for­ward to real change in the man­ner sport is ad­min­is­tered and run in the coun­try.

His firm be­lief is that mod­ern sci­ence ap­pli­ca­tion in sport can lead Zim­babwe to lofty po­si­tions in world sport.

It is a fact that ath­let­ics may not gen­er­ate as much in­ter­est and pub­lic ad­mi­ra­tion. But he was part of a rev­o­lu­tion in Mata­bele­land in 1993 that had Zim­babwe turn­ing its heads to­wards Mata­bele­land and recog­nis­ing a group of coaches and ath­letes.

It was not just or­di­nary sportsper­sons, a gen­er­a­tion tak­ing over from the late Zepha­niah Ncube, Eli­jah Nkala and Ben­jamin Son­goya in ath­let­ics, a field dom­i­nated by coaches, the late Prize Ndlovu, Phineas Ajida, Abel Manyumeka and Eli­jah Ng­wenya, the in­vin­ci­ble BAC hockey team, Pek­ing Stars (men) and High­landers (women) bas­ket­ball, High­landers win­ners of An­niver­sary Cup, Unit Fair­bridge Zone Six cham­pi­ons, Old Mil­to­ni­ans and Busters the top two rugby clubs in the coun­try, to men­tion a few suc­cesses ser­e­naded by High­landers FC’S first Blue Rib­bons Pre­mier Soc­cer League ti­tle.

Khu­malo then an un­known quan­tity in ath­let­ics was be­hind the reg­is­ter­ing of Sigonde Se­condary School on the na­tional map. His ath­letes shocked the pro­vin­cial se­lec­tors when they topped the girls Un­der-16 and 20 cross coun­try cham­pi­onships be­fore mak­ing it into na­tional cham­pi­onships.

“It was good and quite a sur­prise for ath­letes from a ru­ral school pre­vi­ously un­known to dom­i­nate. We got to be known and re­spected as a pow­er­house in ath­let­ics not only in Mata­bele­land North and Bu­l­awayo Prov­ince as we were one until then, Zim­bab­weans across the

Bhekuzulu Khu­malo

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