South African speedster Akani Simbine will have full-time access to long-time coach Werner Prinsloo thanks to a
ground-breaking partnership with Liquid Telecom.
The telecommunications giant on Tuesday announced a three-year agreement that will provide crucial support to
the fastest man in Africa until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In an industry first, the sponsorship of Simbine will
also provide support to Prinsloo, who had to juggle a full-time job along with his coaching responsibilities.
Simbine has been one of the leaders in what is considered South Africa’s sprinting revolution featuring in both the
Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.
The 24-year-old holds the South African 100m record of 9.89 seconds he set at the Gyulai Memorial meeting in
Budapest, Hungary on July 18, 2016. The time was the fifth fastest time in 2016 and was just 0.04s short of Olusoji
Fasuba’s African 100m record of 9.85secs.
Commenting on the sponsorship Simbine said “I believe in challenging the status quo and challenging norms.
“Although the 100m is an individual sport, the preparation requires a team working together to achieve optimum
“Liquid Telecom understands speed and we have a shared ambition to become number one. Backed by a strong
team led by my coach and supported by an amazing technology partner, we can achieve greatness and hopefully
inspire the next generation,” concluded Simbine.
Due to the constraints of holding a full-time job in IT, Prinsloo was unable to travel with Simbine during crucial
periods of his preparations for major championships. Prinsloo is excited about the prospect of giving all his
attention to his star athlete and developing new talent.
“I feel extremely proud and humbled to have the backing of Liquid Telecom,” Prinsloo said. “The chance of working
with such a forward-thinking brand allows us to give deep insight into what it takes to be champion.”
“It unlocks the ability to coach other coaches, to educate and empower the untapped coaching, athletic and
human talent that we have on this great continent. Coaches are often behind the scenes and Liquid Telecom have
the vision that information is power, that technology is the ingredient for growth,” commented Prinsloo.
Prinsloo said he would now be able to find ways to shave split seconds off Simbine’s personal best in their pursuit
of the African record and podium finishes on the world stage.
“In this sport, milliseconds are the difference between good and great. This partnership allows me to combine
these three ingredients effectively to ensure Akani is the fastest in the world, “said Prinsloo.
Last year Simbine earned his membership of the so-called ‘sub-dub club’ when he became the first South African
to dip under 10 seconds in the 100m and 20 seconds in the 200m on the same day.
He posted a 100m time of 9.93secs before dipping below 20 seconds for the first time in the 200m clocking
19.95secs at a meeting in Pretoria.
Liquid Telecom Chief Executive Officer, Kyle Whitehill said the partnership with Simbine was the perfect vehicle to
showcase Africa’s ability to produce world-class performances.
“In our current market, we feel it is important to invest in true South African success stories. Whitehill believes the
powerful stories of athletes would inspire the next generation and grow the continent’s base of world-class
athletes and coaches.
“We are in the business of providing services that empower business, education and information solutions.
We see unlimited potential in Akani and Werner to tap into these sectors,” said Whitehill
“We are under no illusion that the next generation’s connection with a brand is made through authentic narratives
that inspire, inform, impress and entertain. We have named all our buildings to represent the fastest river, bird,
man and animal in Africa and have named our Sales and Product building after Akani, representing the fastest man
Liquid Telecoms SA’s General Manager of marketing Samantha Kaaber said they the partnership goes “beyond
traditional sponsorships of a-badge-on-tee-shirt or a billboard-ad”.
“As leaders in the Technology and Information Delivery space, we choose to deliver rich content to Akani’s and our
audiences,” Kaaber said.
“Content that gives insights into the life and journey of this impressive young man, his committed coach and the
brands collaborative ability to inform, educate and inspire. The life lessons sport give us, the power of our stories,
the power of digital platforms to communicate these and our tireless ambitions to be No 1,” commented Kaaber.
“Our ambitions are greater than just finding the next Olympic 100m sprinter, but the power of sport as a vehicle to communicate, educate and inspire through all walks of life,” concluded Kaaber.