Day in the Life: Eddie Mukahanana

- Heather Croft

Eddie Mukahanana

Eddie Mukahanana has been graced with the likes of a Zimbabwe national team uniform and a professional football career in Russia. A quick Google search for his name takes you to a Wikipedia page that makes you wonder what it’s been like to go from being an international student on a sports scholarship to his current position as an Admissions Officer at UVic.

It started out with practicing longer and harder than any of his teammates—and ignoring doubters who didn’t think he could combine a love of sport with rigorous academic pursuits.

That diligence has led Eddie to an 11-year career at UVic, a second job as the athletic director for the Bays United Football Club in Victoria and the ownership of two organic farms in Africa. In between lies a degree in finance, a serious injury, and a whole lot of support from coaches, teammates and family.

These days, Eddie starts his day at 6:15 a.m. to get his three children out the door to hockey and figure skating practise. Even on days where the family has a break from early-morning organized sport, they still get up early to train together. He gets into the office between 6:45 and 7 a.m. to puts in an hour of work before a quick break to shuttle his kids to school. Then Eddie returns to campus to check in with his admissions team and to strategize on how to tackle the mountain of undergraduate applications they evaluate each week.

As one example, leading up to the start of Fall 2018 classes, 1,175 applications for the Gustavson School of Business crossed his desk. Most evenings, after he turns off his computer at work, Eddie then heads to the turf, where he shapes the development of 2,000 young soccer players.

Eddie’s skill as a young athlete led to 15 caps (official games played) with Zimbabwe’s junior and senior national teams and gave him the opportunity to play matches in 20 countries. While Eddie was balancing classes and midterms as a scholarship student with a part-time job helping out with international admissions, his friends were earning massive paychecks as professional athletes on the biggest European teams. Eddie considers himself lucky to have completed a university degree, realizing that “you have to fill your life with something” once a career in sport comes to an end.

Planning ahead for the end of his sports career—even before it had fully taken flight—led Eddie to purchase two farms in Zimbabwe. He sends a portion of his coaching salary to build irrigation for the farm and has delivered thousands of organic seeds to help ensure economic and food security for friends and family who are still in Zimbabwe.

Eddie’s elite status as a player also allowed him to tap into the highest level of coaching training available. This training comes into play as he anticipates and deals with challenges at work as well as how he supervises his team. “You can ask leading questions or use guided discovery to teach people how to solve problems themselves,” he explains.

Eddie is also an enthusiastic ambassador for Zimbabwe. It’s clear that his success is the product of focus and desire that is unlike that of many people. He maintains strong ties to the community he grew up in and acknowledges with humility that giving back is the right thing to do. 

His personal affirmation comes from a 1998 interview, where Kobe Bryant reflected on something Michael Jackson once said to him: 

“Don’t change . . . . You have to stay focused. If you wanna be one of the all-time greats you have to study the all-time greats. You have to be obsessive about what you do and how you do it.”


In this story

Keywords: staff, sports, administrative, international, Day in the Life

People: Eddie Mukahanana

Publication: The Ring

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