Matongo bags degree, now rugby becomes his priority

He is hoping to emulate the legendary World Cup-winning Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, his hero, has gotten an inspired Vernon Matongo (22) to set his sights on carving a name for himself in the rugby annals.

The loosehead prop, who hails from an eastern suburb in Harare, Zimbabwe called Cranborne, recently graduated, in the Stellenbosch University March graduation, with a Bachelor in Accounting, the first in his family to do so.

His mom, Hazel, has been his true inspiration – along with Beast of course – and while she joined him at his graduation ceremony, the Maties Sport star athlete feels the full backing of not only his family but everyone that has ever believed in him.

“Believe it or not, I am the first one to graduate in my family, and this is something that I am very proud to tick off on my list,” Matongo told Maties Sport. “This is a massive milestone for my family – my mom, dad, and brother – I worked hard but I do not take lightly what I have accomplished.”

Matongo made his debut for FNB Maties in the 2022 FNB Varsity Cup season when Maties came very close to clinching a sixth title. Towering at 1.81 metres, the former Northwood player has the world at his feet and with his recently signed two-year senior contract with Western Province, he has his sights set on emulating his childhood hero.

Much like Beast, Matongo has taken a similar pathway en route to professional rugby, they both even started as loose forwards before migrating to the front row. Both found their form in Durban, however, Matongo has decided to complete his studies in Cape Town and has since made the Western Cape his home for at least two seasons.

“Beast has always been an inspiration for every kid from Zimbabwe, what he has accomplished is nothing short of spectacular,” Matongo said. “We both started playing loose forwards, we both played in Durban, and we both play in the front row. Tendai is an inspiration and I hope that I can achieve some of what he has done.

“I look up to him in a massive way, he is my rugby idol and I hope I can inspire as many youngsters as he has in what has been a very successful and illustrious career.”

The B.Acc graduate has his sights firmly set on finishing his third season with Maties on a strong foot and hopefully with some silverware before he reports for duty at Western Province Rugby. The seasoned prop has scored six tries so far in the regular Varsity Cup season

“I recently signed a two-year deal with Western Province, which I am very happy about,” Matongo continued. “Rugby will take the front-row seat for now, I have my degree qualification which I will look to complete my articles at a later stage, but for now it will be Vernon Matongo the rugby player.”