While he is embracing the challenge of swapping the football oval for a desk, Tendai Mzungu is nevertheless excited about his new role as Fremantle’s Next Generation Academy Coach.
A 102-game player for Fremantle from 2011 to 2016, Mzungu had his induction this week and will commence the newly created role in the new year.
The induction involved meeting new as well as some familiar faces as in preparation for a new life in football after his wedding in December.
“It’s actually, when you think about the role you forget about all the good people that are still here,” Mzungu said.
“Not just the players, there’s obviously a lot of players that I’m still close with, but the staff as well. There’s a lot of people over seven years that I’ve had some very strong bonds with, so playing and coaching and staff wise, there are familiar faces and it makes it a lot easier."
Mzungo admitted to getting lost as he found his feet at Freo’s new home.
“I probably didn’t understand how big this place was,” Mzungu said.
“It’s a bit of a maze and it’s amazing what the City of Cockburn and Fremantle have done to get this facility as it is, it’s state-of-the-art.
“It’s my first day and my head’s still spinning a little bit, there will be some things I’ll learn a bit and some changes but ultimately I’m sure it’s very similar.”
In the role, Mzungu will be tasked with developing Indigenous and multicultural talent from Freo’s allocated zones, which includes the Kimberley as Fremantle’s Indigenous recruiting zone.
Fremantle’s first academy selection could come as soon as the 2018 National Draft, with academy product Jason Carter, of Wyndham, set to reach draft age next year.
“I was really excited when I was presented this opportunity, working with some talented kids who are from multicultural and indigenous backgrounds who obviously have a lot of talent,” Mzungu said.
“I look forward to trying to harness that talent and, hopefully, bring them into an AFL environment.
"I think the game can grow, we’ll see some exciting talent come through and to be a part of that and to get that opportunity is something I’m really excited about.”
The speedy midfielder played four games for GWS in 2017 before retiring from football and said he will miss good friend and former teammate at Fremantle and GWS in Matt De Boer, who recently signed a contract extension with the Giants.
“I don’t know how I’ll manage,” joked Mzungu.
“I’m excited to see him sign on for another couple of years. It’s a good reward for the good work he’s done over there.
"I tried getting him to come back, he tried getting me to stay, it’ll be an interesting time away from each other but I’m really excited to follow his progress.”