Tendai to take the toss in Multicultural Round
Tendai Mzungu says he’s honoured to take over Matthew Pavlich’s duties at the coin toss for Saturday’s Multicultural Round match against Collingwood at the MCG.
Mzungu, who has Zimbabwean heritage, will join Collingwood’s Harry O’Brien (Brazil) at the centre square before the bounce.
The 26-year-old and West Coast’s Nic Naitanui (Fiji) were special guests at a cultural diversity breakfast at Patersons Stadium on Wednesday morning.
He told the audience his thoughts about being involved in the coin toss, which he had only just found out he would be doing.
“I can’t wait to get back to the club and let ‘Pav’ know he is stepping aside,” Mzungu joked.
“Tossing the coin at the MCG is something to brag to the kids and the grandkids about later in life.
“I will certainly enjoy the moment and soak it all up.”
The hard-running Freo midfielder and his brother Tapiwa were born in Melbourne, the city their parents met.
“My father had come over from Zimbabwe in his early twenties, and my mum was a Perth girl who moved over to get a new start,” he said.
Mzungu doesn’t get a chance to see his father that often because he lives on the Gold Coast, but when he does, he takes every opportunity to learn more about his African heritage.
“I try and get an appreciation of what he’s gone through and the cultural things that he has dealt with,” he said.
“Things that I want to learn a lot more about during my life.
Mzungu also shared the meaning of his name.
“The actual common meaning out there is ‘white person’,” he said.
“I actually told that to the boys the first day I arrived at the club, and they loved it, so I thought I would stick with that one.”
“My dad gets a bit annoyed at me at times because I tell people the meaning and it gets a few laughs.
“He tells me it’s the ‘spirit’, and that’s the meaning behind it from his tribe, the Shona Tribe.”
Mzungu said he’d been infatuated with playing sport since he was a child.
“When I was little, I loved having a footy or any sort of round object in my hand,” he said.
“I just loved sport.”
But he didn’t ever think seriously about playing at the highest level until he was in his twenties.
“It wasn’t anything I thought about, I just loved playing football,” he said.
“It wasn’t until I was about 22 or 23 when it became some sort of opportunity, so I put my head down and got to work and started having a real crack at it.
“I didn’t want to have any regrets and, thankfully, I got there.