- It is a big responsibility and all eyes are on me to ensure I produce the best competitors in the world, says Banyane.
Free State karate star Sensei Nechodemus Banyane has received another feather in his cap with his re-appointment as Kumite head coach to lead the senior South African karate team to the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The competition will be held in Tokyo, Japan, from July 24 to August 9.
Affectionately known in the karate fraternity as ‘Black Cheetah’, Banyane who hails from Botshabelo, Free State was re-appointed by Karate South Africa (KSA) at its annual meeting held in Botshabelo over the weekend.
He becomes the first black coach to this influential position to lead South Africa since all karate styles were united and re-admitted to the World Karate Federation in 1992.
Banyane’s re-appointment was hugely backed by KSA president Sonny Pillay Hanshi (8th Dan) who said it was more than justified.
“It goes without saying that indeed he was the right man for the job and we are more than confident that he will get the job done for the country,” said Pillay.
Banyane retired in 2011 as a competitive athlete and was immediately appointed as assistant coach of the Protea team for juniors to Tunisia in 2013 and Namibia in 2014. In Tunisia, he was recognised for his talent with a trophy from Hanshi Peter Brandon of the Africa Coaching Commission.
The ‘Black Cheetah’ became the first black athlete from South Africa to receive an internationally-accredited coaching certificate in Spain in 2013.
He was then promoted to the senior national Protea team as assistant coach in Senegal in 2014 and has been integral in the South African team, having served as an assistant coach in Congo 2015 and Zimbabwe 2016.
Banyane’s first task will be to lead team SA to the African Karate Championships (19th Senior Edition, 11th Junior Edition, 3th Cadet Edition) in Tangier, Morocco from February 7 to 9, 2020.
Reflecting on his appointment, Banyane said, “Going there as a coach, not competitor, is a great feeling. It has been my dream to go to the Olympics as a competitor, but the feeling is unbelievable for me to be appointed and to see South Africa assembling a winning team in 2020.”
The Black Cheetah extended a word of thanks to KSA Shihan Brando Pillay, Director of Coaching Shihan Micheal Roetz and the executive committee. “Indeed this is a huge responsibility and I wish to thank the leadership for entrusting us with it. I assure you we don’t take it lightly. We know what is expected of us and we will work tirelessly to ensure that we deliver on the expectations.”
Banyane participated in 26 international tournaments for South Africa, winning 17 medals – nine gold, three silver and five bronze.