By Eddie Chikamhi
Zimbabwe’s legendary coach, Sunday Chidzambwa, believes his students — Callisto Pasuwa and Kaitano Tembo — are now ripe to go a notch higher in their coaching careers.
Chidzambwa, who recently announced his retirement to concentrate on advisory roles, believes his former players should consider going for national team coaching jobs in the region.
The duo have been flexing their muscles, with Pasuwa claiming back-to-back titles in Malawi, in the last two seasons.
Tembo lifted his first silverware as head coach by winning the MTN8 Cup in the just-ended South African football season.
“Obviously, I feel very proud of them. I am not surprised because these guys showed the signs during their playing days,’’ he said.
“These were the kind of players who always wanted to play and win.
“You could see the leadership qualities in them because they were disciplined and they were also keen to learn new things.
“I think you will agree with me that these are no-nonsense guys, when it comes to discipline.
“I think this has helped them in their coaching careers. Discipline and fitness are key.
“I think they have drilled that in their players as well.’’
He said they should even target taking charge of the national teams in the countries where they are coaching.
“So far, I think they have done well at club level,’’ said Chidzambwa.
“Their next mission should probably be to try and go for national team jobs, in the respective countries where they are stationed, or elsewhere in the region.
“It’s an exciting challenge.’’
His comments come after Tembo led South African side Supersport United to a decent season in which they finished with silverware in the cabinet.
Tembo’s men finished fifth in the just-ended race, nine points behind winners Mamelodi Sundowns.
A third-place finish was possible, had they won their last match, against Cape Town City.
The game ended in a 0-1 defeat.
The campaign is still an improvement, from last season, when they finished sixth, 14 points off the pace.
But Tembo’s MTN8 success made him the second Zimbabwean coach to win major silverware in South African football.
He followed in the footsteps of the late Peter “Thunderboots” Nyama, who lifted the Coca-Cola Cup with Qwa Qwa Stars way back in 1994.
It is not easy for foreign coaches to thrive in the South African Premiership.
But Tembo continues to show he has earned his stripes and can stand toe-to-toe with the best coaches in the tough Supa Diski world.
Pasuwa is arguably the most decorated of all Chidzambwa’s students.
He led Malawian giants Nyasa Big Bullets to a successful defence of the TNM Super League title, during a purple patch which has seen him win six straight league crowns for himself.
Before embarking on his first regional club mission in Malawi, Pasuwa won four straight titles at home with Dynamos between 2011 and 2014.
He also became the third coach, after Chidzambwa and Charles Mhlauri, to lead the Warriors to the finals of the AFCON in 2017.
Chidzambwa said he was not surprised to see so many former Dynamos players transforming into coaching.
He said Dembare players were traditionally drilled to take responsibility during their playing days.
“I think the trick with Dynamos is that the team, from the early days, was always coached by former players, mostly.
“Dynamos didn’t have the culture of importing coaches.
“For example, when I arrived at the club in the late 70s, I remember that Shadreck Ngwenya and Shepherd Murape were doubling as player-coaches.
“That had been the trend even before I joined the club.
“There were many other senior guys, who used to get duties to train the team, on a rotational basis.
“Taizviitira zvinhu zvedu tega (we used to do things on our own) and I think it just rubbed on to everyone who passed through the Dynamos structures.’’
He said the club had always placed emphasis on developing their own players into coaches.
“By the time I was sent to Brazil (together with Obadiah Sarupinda) for my first coaching course (in 1984), I think the club had seen the need to develop ex-players into properly trained personnel,’’ he said.
“So, when these guys (Tembo and Pasuwa) came on board, I think they saw what had been happening then.
“They were being coached by former Dynamos players and, it’s possible, they got inspired, as well.
“I think that is also the reason why we were successful as a team.”
The 68-year-old won several trophies with Dynamos and took the club to the final of the 1998 CAF Champions League for the first and only time in their history.
However, his time in the trenches, as a head coach ended at the 2019 AFCON finals.
Chidzambwa remains available for offers to work as a technical expert and also hopes to help groom aspiring coaches. The Herald