That was the reaction from Amanzimtoti High School rugby player, Sduduzo Mseleku, when Springbok rugby player Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira arrived out of the blue to meet him this week.
Sduduzo, who is in Grade 10 and already in the school’s first rugby team, was clearly overwhelmed when the rugby legend walked up to him at an uMhlanga hotel on Wednesday and shook his hand.
“I am so happy to see a great person like him who has achieved a lot. He’s a great example to kids like us, even when he’s so famous, he carries on working so hard,” he said.
But the surprises did not end there. The Beast, as he’s fondly known by his fans around the world, decided to celebrate his recent 100th Test match by launching his 100 Reasons To Dream campaign, where he wants to reach out and make a difference to young rugby players in his home province.
“I remember as a young man when I was in high school, I didn’t have my own rugby boots and had to share boots. I only got my first pair of rugby boots in my last year of school when we came on tour down to South Africa and a friend got a pair for me.
“They were like gold to me, so I understand the importance of boots.”
His wife, Kusiva, who has been instrumental in working behind the scenes to help launch the 100 Reasons Campaign, set up the surprise meeting with the promising young player from Amanzimtoti High.
“I heard about Sduduzo, this young man with potential from my wife and I was excited to meet him,” said Mtawarira.
Mtawarira had a brand new pair of rugby boots ready to hand over to the young player.
“Tendai really relates to some of the difficulties faced by young players and he has talked about sharing boots when he was at school and how they were too small for him,” said Kusiva.
As for Sduduzo, who plays blindside flank, a pair of rugby boots was a dream come true.
“I grew up with my granny in Illovo and started playing rugby in Grade 3. Since then it has been really something I am passionate about.
“I am good at contesting for the ball at the breakdown. I understand the game of rugby and work hard at supporting my team players,” he said.
Advising him about a future in the game, Mtawarira said: “I like your attitude. You must be prepared to work hard, you have to have a high work ethic and commitment. Also focus now on your conditioning and diet. You need to get your strength up to survive on the field.”
The Beast steered Sduduzo over to a veranda where the two continued to chat privately, the delight apparent on the young player’s face.
Meanwhile business owner, Matt Cohen whose company Security Superstore sponsors the Amanzimtoti High School 1st rugby team and who helped set up the surprise meeting, said: “We have watched (Sduduzo) throughout the whole season. His overall playing is exceptional. His tackling is good and he’s a very fast runner. He also has very good leadership abilities.
“On a personal level, he has become part of our family. He has touched our lives.”THE INDEPENDENT ON SATURDAY