DURBAN - TENDAI “Beast” Mtawarira has made the switch from muddy rugby boots in the Shark Tank to a suit and tie in the boardroom.
On Tuesday, the Sharks announced their new board of directors led by Sharks chairperson and founder and group chief executive of Aspen Pharmacare Stephen Saad, and executive director Dr Eduard Coetzee, the Sharks chief executive.
MVM Holdings is represented by lawyer Marco Masotti, and others on the board are Shaun Bryans, Dr Hendrick Goosen, Jonsson Workwear chief executive Nick Jonsson, and former Sports Science Institute in Cape Town chief executive Dr Phathokuhle Zondi.
“The final seat belongs to Sharks and Springbok legend, Tendai Mtawarira, who not too long ago hung up his playing boots after an illustrious career. Being a former player, he understands players’ needs; his voice is a crucial one at the boardroom table and as a mentor to the young players rising through the ranks. Mtawarira will also serve as an independent consultant to majority shareholders MVM Holdings, further developing his business and strategic acumen,” the Sharks said in a statement.
The KZN Rugby Union (KZNRU) is represented by former Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl, Demetris Haralambous and Sandile Ngwenya, while SuperSport is represented by Marc Jury and Graham Abrahams.
Mtawarira said Masotti had approached him to become part of the board and, after being in the system as a player for so long he understood a lot from a player’s perspective. Masotti had wanted someone to add value and speak on behalf of the players.
“It means a lot. I’ve always wanted to become a role model for younger players,” said Mtawarira.
“I’ve been very privileged to have a lot of good support around me – good mentors – so I prepared for this long ago while I was still playing for the Springboks and the Sharks; so I always knew exactly what I wanted to get into.”
He said a player’s accomplishments did not have to end on the field, and greater things could be achieved thereafter.
“For me, it was all about breaking that ceiling and just being a role model. That’s why being a part of the board, where there are so many big businessmen like Stephen Saad, chief executive of Aspen, Marc Jury chief executive of SuperSport … It’s a big platform, so I just want to be a beacon of light for other players that are preparing for their next chapter or so.”
The 36-year-old legend of the Sharks and the Springboks started his domestic career in 2006 with the Sharks and holds the South African record for the most Super Rugby caps, 159 for the Sharks.
He bagged 117 caps for the Springboks in a career that spanned more than a decade, from his debut in 2008 to his last match in 2019.
Since retiring in 2019, Mtawarira’s next chapter has comprised running Umlindi Security, publishing his biography, titled Beast, founding The Beast Foundation which is championing social causes, studying towards his MBA, joining Roc Nation Sports and being vocal on the rugby front.
He said he knew that going back to study was vital for him – to obtain a strong academic qualification that would add value to his journey.