Rugby World Cup winner Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira says athletes should find an identity outside of their sport to make the transition to retirement smooth.
Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira, a 117-capped Springbok, bowed out of the game in style by winning the Webb Ellis trophy, bringing an end to an illustrious 14-year career. During his career, he had been investing in other interests outside of rugby.
Life after rugby has been smooth for Mtawarira. He is still the face of brands he represented during his playing days. He joined Roc Nation sports, established the Beast Wine Collection and Beast Foundation, and got a seat at his beloved Sharks as one of the board of directors and is working towards his MBA at the Henley Business School.
Even though he looks like he can still eat someone in a scrum battle, Mtawarira is doing fine in retirement. Some athletes, after retiring, go to coaching or broadcast media, however, only a few are afforded that chance.
Many athletes find themselves in limbo after retiring, they have no means of making a livelihood outside of sports. The lack of a post-career plan sees athletes play until their bodies give in or they become discarded because of their age.
Mtawarira is on a mission to help young and old athletes to put in measures to help them for life after sports. “It’s critical for me, my mission now is just to show the young players, not just rugby players, but sports people that it doesn’t just have to end on the field, you can go on to achieve greater things beyond the playing field,” said Mtawarira.
“All you have to do is discover what you are passionate about, get yourselves into business or go back to school to try and upskill yourself. You must not have one identity, you must broaden your horizons and have an identity outside of you, it’s important. You must always believe that your best days are ahead of you, your best days are not only on the field
“You have to think about that stuff when you’re still young, when you’re in your prime. You don’t want to necessarily do it because now it’s almost time for you to hang up your boots and you’re kind of stressed for time and you want to make something happen,” he said.