New head for CMA board

2016-11-02 06:03
Sifiso Nzuza has been elected the new chairman of the Comrades Marathon Association. PHOTO: supplied

Sifiso Nzuza has been elected the new chairman of the Comrades Marathon Association. PHOTO: supplied

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SIFISO Nzuza has been elected the new chairman of the Comrades Marathon Association at their annual general meeting last week.

The 57-year-old man has a long history with the CMA and former chairman Macdonald Chitja was the reason Nzuza ran his first marathon and subsequently qualified for his first Comrades Marathon.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, Nzuza­ said he was looking forward to the new era at CMA and taking the organisation to the next level.

Nzuza, father of three, is originally from Ladysmith and relocated to Pietermaritzburg 30 years ago for work commitments. He qualified in the law field and is a senior manager at the Pietermaritzburg deeds office.

While working at Stowell and Company many years ago, Nzuza met a candidate attorney, who was already involved and passionate about long distance running.

That attorney was former chairman Chitja, who convinced Nzuza to try his hand at long-distance running.

“I was always involved in sports when I was younger, but focused on short-distance running and later, soccer. When I met Mac he was already involved in long-distance running and then convinced me to try it out.

“There was only one qualifier left for Comrades that year, which was the Chatsworth­ Marathon. I bit the bullet and tried it out, even though I knew I was not completely fit for the race.

“I persevered with Mac by my side and managed to make it in time to qualify for Comrades. I eventually finished without one shoe because even my shoes were giving up on me as I didn’t have the right running shoes when I competed.

“After qualifying I knew I had to work hard on my fitness in order to complete the Comrades, which I did,” he said.

He described that first race as his best.

“At that time it was still the 11-hour finish cut-off and that race remains the best one for me,” he said.

Since then Nzuza has completed 11 races officially and one unofficially.

“From the day I started I was addicted. During one of the races I fell far behind the pack and was asked to abandon my race because I had not made one of the cut-offs. I refused to give up and insisted I be allowed to complete the run to Durban, even though I would not finish in the designated time.”

Nzuza said he plans to continue racing until he reaches his goal of double green number, which is completing 20 Comrades Marathons.

He began serving the CMA board 15 years ago as a member on the board of trustees. He served either as an elected member or as being co-opted onto the board over the years getting involved in various portfolios including registration, social responsibility and CMA human resources.

“I am so grateful to my fellow board members, who elected me and have entrusted me to hold the position of chairman.

“A lot has been done by the previous board members and previous chairmen so mine is an easy task - the groundwork has been done, I need to ensure that I drive the processes to finality,” he said.

Nzuza said his focus and priority will be to take CMA to the runners by visiting clubs, promoting the race, the organisation and encouraging runners, especially the underprivileged ones, to participate in the Comrades Marathon.

“We, as the board, need to communicate with the runners directly talking about the challenges they face and also addressing our challenges such as cheating in the race, which is killing the sport. I am simply the figure head of the board, we will continue to work as a team.

“Our vision is to remain the most inclusive running event and make CMA inclusive at stages of functionality.

“I know that with the support of my beautiful wife and children I will be able to make the most during my year as chairman, and I hope to make everyone proud,” said Nzuza.

N ew CMA board members:

Celi Makhoba

Steve Mkasi

Mqondisi Ngcobo

Morgan Pillay

Craig Dennill

Alen Hattingh

Isaac Ngwenya

Adrian Stowell

He began serving the CMA board 15
years ago

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