WHEN young and underprivileged Trust Matonhore unbelievably survived the ravages of Cyclone Idai in March 2019 after being buried under rocks and sustaining life-threatening injuries, no one ever imagined that he would go on to be part of 12 exceptionally talented youths representing their country at the All Africa Junior Golf Challenge in Egypt.
Matonhore (18) is part of a 12-member training squad for the All Africa Junior Golf Challenge in Egypt, itself a stepping stone for one’s qualification for the prestigious Toyota World Junior Championships in Japan, which takes place in June 2021.
Matonhore earned his place among the 12, thanks to a recent sterling performance in the Mashonaland Junior Golf Association Monthly Medal at Chapman Golf Club where he lost a two-way sudden death play-off to Keegan Shutt.
That Shutt is the country’s top golfer for their age group puts into perspective Matonhore’s distinction on the course.
Mathew Bamford, Neville Chirewa, Lloyd Dube, Nkosikathi Dube, Ethan Kristiansan, Matonhore, Farai Munyisa, Blessing Ngondo, Tariro November, Vineet Patel, Shutt and Michael Wallace make up the list of the 12 in camp.
In a notice to parents and guardians, Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union president, Ilonka Bekker wrote: “This tournament (All Africa Junior Golf Challenge in Egypt) is a selection process for the Toyota World Junior Championships in Japan which takes place in June 2021.
“The selected team should be under 19 years of age as at 1st July 2021. The same team will play in Japan. Two teams from Africa will be chosen.
“Training will be on Saturdays and further information will be provided on this platform. Training will start on 7th November.”
The squad will be in camp every Saturday from 12pm to 3pm and their work programme includes short game (putting, bunker play, chipping and pitching), long game (woods and long Irons), approach shorts (mid to short irons), strength and conditioning, sports psychology sessions.
Matonhore, who recently changed his surname from Makamidzani, is on record saying he drew a lot of inspiration from former world number one golfer, Tiger Woods’ gesture after the Chimanimani-based youngster received a signed placard.
“It might have been a routine gesture of goodwill for the global celebrity (Tiger Woods) but the banner is now my major source of inspiration,” said Matonhore in an interview last year.
But the revival of Matonhore’s golf career is never complete without mentioning Chimanimani Tourist Association (CTA), a non-profit making organisation that raised the funding for both his surgeries and coaching.
The youngster, who was buried under rocks during Cyclone Idai, can now showcase his talents once again, thanks to CTA that mobilised organisations such as Strathmore Golf Club in Scotland to pay for his placement in the care of a private surgeon in Mutare.
Strathmore also went on to pay for Matonhore’s coaching with a top national coach and today he is among Zimbabwe’s top junior golfers.
Matonhore’s Chimanimani home was destroyed by a landslide when the cyclone struck on March 15, 2019, and was washed down a mountainside.
He suffered severe injuries on the head and left knee and was missing for two days before friends found him at a local clinic.
Matonhore had to be airlifted for treatment in Chipinge, before being transferred to Mutare.
The golfer’s home was destroyed during the tropical cyclone and he is still living in a tent.