By Langton Nyakwenda
At some point in their coaching careers, Kalisto Pasuwa and Lloyd Mutasa were like Siamese twins — inseparable on-and-off-the-field football brothers.
Their families even attended the same apostolic church, before their relationship turned sour.
Mutasa and Pasuwa were midfield partners in the historic Dynamos team that reached the CAF Champions League final in 1998, before combining forces on the technical bench with coaching stints at Sporting Lions, Highway and Kiglon.
Alongside Masimba Dinyero, another former Dynamos player, the trio was inseparable until 2011, when Pasuwa refused to take up an offer to assist Mutasa — who had been appointed DeMbare head coach — citing poor remuneration. As fate would have it, Pasuwa replaced Mutasa in August 2011, when the latter appeared to be running out of ideas to arrest DeMbare’s slide. He went on to win four consecutive league championships.
Since then, the duo’s relationship has been the subject of speculative talk, amid unconfirmed allegations that there is bad blood and back-biting between the two respected gaffers and long-time friends.
Pasuwa gave his own account in a recent interview with The Sunday Mail Sport from his base in Malawi, where the top-flight league has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The record-breaking gaffer, who has on a few occasions been linked with a return to Dynamos, claims his relationship with Mutasa was spoiled by outside forces.
He believes this “unfortunate” development affected their relationship.
“I played with Mutasa and Dinyero at Dynamos and we had, and still have, a good understanding of each other.
“We carried that relationship into coaching and it took us through duties at Sporting Lions, Kiglon and Highway. It was very unfortunate that we were kind of infiltrated and that kind of disturbed our working relationship,” revealed Pasuwa.
However, Pasuwa remains indebted to Mutasa, the coach “who showed me the way”.
“Samaita (Mutasa) was the first coach I worked with and he also showed me the way. I salute him and also Masimba (Dinyero).
“Anga ari, and they still remain, madhara angu. Our relationship goes beyond coaching, I should say,” Pasuwa said.
Ironically, the Nyasa Big Bullets coach was heavily linked with a sensational return to Dynamos after the club had sacked Mutasa in September 2019. It was Mutasa’s second spell after bouncing back in 2016, as the successor to the comical Portuguese coach Paolo Jorge Silva.
Wary of fuelling further speculation, Pasuwa expressed no interest in the job, lest he would be labelled as someone who always turned up whenever Mutasa failed.
Pasuwa, who now has six league titles — four with Dynamos and two with Nyasa Big Bullets — has, however, not ruled out a possible reunion with the Harare giants.
He quit the Warriors job after a disappointing show at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon IN 2017 and is still owed a huge amount of money by ZIFA.
“About a possible reunion with Dynamos . . . remember, my blood is blue and will always be blue,” said Pasuwa, who left DeMbare in acrimonious circumstances soon after winning his fourth straight league title in 2014.
“It is a team that I served in almost every capacity, from player, player-coach, team manager, assistant coach to head coach.
“That alone shows I can do anything for Dynamos, provided again the environment is ideal. At Dynamos I worked with coaches like Sunday Chidzambwa, July Sharara, Eric Aisam, David George, Moses Chunga and David Mandigora. I was an understudy to all these coaches and you can see the transition I went through after being urged on by Nelson Matongorere to take up coaching professionally.”
The Premiership history-making coach, who led Zimbabwe to their third AFCON finals in 2017, is open for another dance with the Warriors, provided “the working environment is conducive”.
“I love my country and I am always willing to give it my all when it is about Zimbabwe.”
Pasuwa grabbed international media attention in 2015 when an image of the coach entering a Malawi-bound bus with a blanket on his back went viral on social media.
“Imagine Kalisto with a blanket, in a Munorurama bus off to Malawi by road to play a game the following day. That shows you the commitment. I am Zimbabwean and also very patriotic such that I can’t rule out another dance with the Zimbabwe national team, provided the working environment is conducive.”
Meanwhile, Pasuwa gets a chance to showcase his mettle to the Tanzanian audience when Nyasa Big Bullets tackle Azam FC and Young Africans in invitational matches in Dar es Salaam from January 30 to February 2. The Sunday Mail