By Tadious Manyepo
It’s a shame former Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa won’t have a chance to pay his last respects to a man who appreciated both his playing and coaching skills the most.
Freddy “Pasuwa” Mugadza passed away in the United States after suffering a heart attack on Saturday. He is the younger brother of former Dynamos chairman Phillip Mugadza.
But, the current measures adopted by virtually all the countries across the globe to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic could leave Pasuwa, with very little chances of saying goodbye to a man who believed in him.
Pasuwa is holed up in Malawi, which has also declared a three-week lockdown, where he coaches one of that country’s biggest clubs, Nyasa Big Bullets.
“I am saddened by Mugadza’s death. Fate is so cruel, I am one man who was supposed to be at his funeral,’’ he said. ‘‘I will do all I can though to be with the other mourners, if not physically then emotionally.’’
But, how did Freddy Mugadza come to be nicknamed “Pasuwa?”
“There was this match at Rufaro Stadium back in 1997, when I was still new at Dynamos, and I was introduced as a substitute by coach Mhofu (Sunday Chidzambwa).
“He was running on the terraces shouting ‘‘Italian’’. That’s how I got that nickname. Afterwards, he told me l was his favourite player and person.
“He would do virtually everything for me, from paying for my hair cut, to buying goodies. ‘He was crazy about me. At first, I wasn’t comfortable with it but, with time, I realised he really liked me.”
Freddy Mugadza just couldn’t miss a Dynamos match before he eventually relocated to the United States. He would always spot a bandaged head and Pasuwa’s shirt number.
“That bandage issue was something else. You know, when we played against Eagle Cement of Nigeria in the CAF Champions League in 1998, I was not supposed to play,’’ said Pasuwa.
“I had a nagging groin injury but when the game was hardly five minutes old, I was called into action to replace Tichaona Murehwa, who had limped off with an injury.
“Our team doctors had to inject me to suppress the pain on my groin. We won that match 1-0, courtesy of a Lloyd Mutasa goal but not before I injured my head, following a collision with an opponent.
“My head had to be bandaged. I was voted man-of-the-match in that game. Mugadza was following and that’s how he came to spot a bandaged head at all Dynamos matches . . .”
Pasuwa was even once summoned by the police to answer to an assault charge after Freddy Mugadza had misrepresented that he was Callisto Pasuwa.
The DeMbare fan had clashed with some Highlanders supporters back in 1999. But, Freddy Mugadza’s love for the four-time league championship winning coach, didn’t end at the stadium.
“We grew to become friends although he was older than me. When my father died, he phoned begging the family to wait a bit before taking the body to the cemetery,’’ said Pasuwa.
‘‘His wish was granted.
‘‘He was just something else. I have never met a super fan like him.”
Freddy Mugadza played an active role in ensuring Pasuwa landed the Dynamos coaching job in 2011 before the latter repaid the faith by delivering four league titles in four consecutive seasons.
He actually wanted to take Pasuwa to the United States but the gaffer chose to concentrate on his career.
“I believe one day I would have joined him in the USA. But, such is life. He is no more. I am deeply pained.”
Pasuwa’s close friend, Dee Shorai Muchineripi, said Freddy Mugadza and Pasuwa had become family.
“Mugadza was a good man. He always wanted to see Pasuwa succeed. He was his number one follower.
‘‘He would always call after matches, during Pasuwa’s stint as Dynamos coach, and send congratulatory messages. ‘He was such a super fan,” said Muchineripi. The Herald