From entertainer to conditioning coach: Thomson Matenda’s journey to the top rated

The Herald

Tadious Manyepo

Sports activities Reporter

IT all started when he slid into depression.

He was then a Grade 4 pupil at Gwetsanga Main School in Gokwe when he endured the strain right after he missing his only sibling.

The former Warriors and present-day Zanaco exercise coach, Thomson Matenda, was so down that he could barely affiliate with other pupils.

He frequently cried quietly around the misfortune and the lousy scenario back again home didn’t help issues possibly. As academics sought to determine how they could assistance him out, bodily education and learning coach Tsaurai Mashipe took him into his displays crew.

“I resolved to set utmost effort and hard work on it and out of the blue I developed into 1 of the best athletes in the staff,” mentioned Matenda.

“In no time I was the superb pupil in the workforce. I would practice all working day at dwelling considering that there was absolutely nothing considerably we ended up undertaking at residence. I designed unexpected interest and I decided to set in everything on it. I just loved the way people would applaud me when we were being doing the shows.

“Not even a solitary working day did I envision myself turning out to be a experienced gymnast nor a health trainer. It was just out of the really like for it and a way to battle off these thoughts that I had lost my only brother. I was adaptable, bending my human body into distinct shapes like an Indian rubber. And that is how I bought the nickname ‘Rubberman’’’.

As destiny would have it, Matenda, just like most of the pupils at Gwetsanga Key Faculty, struggled to have his tuition paid out on time, that is if it was ever compensated.

But, he had created really a reputation as a member of the bodily schooling crew and mainly because of that, he would often be spared when other individuals ended up remaining chased away from the faculty for non-payment of fees.

That could have been 1 of the reasons he was also a silent boy despite his popularity.

But all that would transform for the far better when a sungura songs outfit, Jairos Jiri Band, which was fronted by the late Paul Matavire, arrived in Gokwe in one particular of their schedule countrywide excursions with out a important male for a critical stage act.

The band had grown to be known as a person of the handful of all-around which utilized the services of an acrobat during live displays. However, they had been to tour Gokwe without the need of a person for the very first time following the man’s loss of life a fortnight before.

Matavire obtained wind of Matenda and the band had to push all the way to Gwetsanga the place the young Matenda, carrying out Quality 7 then, would consider just 3 minutes to impress the band leaders in that impromptu audition.

“They started out getting me on their countrywide excursions for the duration of college holiday seasons. From the allowances I was receiving from the band, I managed to offset my school service fees money owed and also assistance out at residence. I determined to do the job even more durable.”

Matenda would later on on transfer from Marimasimbe Secondary College in Gokwe to Gweru for straightforward accessibility to the band.

An organisation by the name “Sport for All” then paid for him to enrol for a Gymnastics Degree 1 Coaching class.

“That spurred me on. I opened a gymnasium centre in Gweru and recruited some of my colleagues from Gokwe. It was at that point that I realised I could actually monetise my talent but I didn’t have the know-how, in particular offered my poor Gokwe qualifications.”

“I experienced now set my sights on signing up for the Zimbabwe Republic Law enforcement show team on ending my secondary training. They ended up so charming any time they carried out at the Gweru Agricultural Exhibit.”

Unbeknown to him, the ZRP had presently identified him and he was astonished when he received a recommendation letter to join the law enforcement pressure when he turned 18.

“I then went for the mandatory 6 months instruction. Before I even understood it, I was cop, all of a unexpected. It was extraordinary. I told myself that I experienced to continue doing the job tricky for I felt blessed hunting at wherever I was coming from. Some of my former classmates back again in Gokwe experienced come to be cattle herders and their life experienced been from undesirable to worse. I experienced to operate tough as with no gymnastics I could as perfectly have observed myself in that identical predicament.”

Matenda was assigned with training new ZRP recruits whilst doubling up as a member of the Police display screen group.

Apparently, he hated football, to the marrow, in his own words and phrases.

“I hated how soccer appeared to be a match related with thuggery and hooliganism. I hated that video game a good deal, in particular Dynamos.”

It was his fellow cop, former Black Mambas and Dynamos utility participant Masimba Dinyero, who persuaded him to assistance out in the health of the now-defunct Sporting Lions in the early 2000s.

“I just felt he would be good sufficient to help in the fitness of Sporting Lions. He refused at initially but afterwards on gave in,” said Dinyero.

That opened a new chapter in Matenda’s everyday living. He would sign up for Buymore and Motor Motion right before Dynamos arrived knocking in 2007.

By then he was also the personalized coach for 2006 Soccer Star of the Year award winner Clement Matawu and the Dynamos duo of Justice Majabvi and Edward Sadomba.

“At Dynamos, we gained the 2007 league title and the CBZ FA Cup right before we took the team all the way to the CAF Champions League semi-finals in 2008.”

Matenda would go on to be seconded as the Warriors conditioning trainer and has four CoOSAFA medals underneath his belt.

He would have a transient stint with Mozambican aspect Costa do Sol, turning out to be the 1st Zimbabwean conditioning coach to do the job with a club outdoors the place.

Zambian soccer giants Zanaco then snatched him two decades in the past and in his 1st stint, they achieved the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup match for the initially time in their record.

“At the moment, I am with Zanaco and I am undertaking everything to test and enable in their physical fitness requires. What I can say is that men and women really should be passionate about what they do.”

It is his stint with the Jairos Jiri Band that influenced Matenda to introduce what he conditions “Sungura Aerobics” in his schooling sessions.