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The success machine who didn’t want to be coach

By Mthokozisi Dube

When he had hung up his boots, finally turning his back on a successful playing career, Callisto Pasuwa did not want to be a coach.

Callisto Pasuwa’s coaching credentials continued to gain momentum in the region after he led Malawian football side Nyasa Big Bullets in defence of the TNM Super League title yesterday in a trailblazing career that has now seen him rake up six straight league crowns for himself.
Callisto Pasuwa’s coaching credentials continued to gain momentum in the region after he led Malawian football side Nyasa Big Bullets in defence of the TNM Super League title in a trailblazing career that has now seen him rake up six straight league crowns for himself by December 2019

He had a promising transport business to take care of.

That is, until he met Nelson Matongorere.

‘’It took Nelson Matongorere who said, ‘you know you’d make a good coach’ that’s when I started going for my badges.”

First, he served as a player assistant at Sporting Lions, before he went back home, taking up a role as assistant coach at his beloved Dynamos.

His first stint as head coach was at Chitungwiza FC in the First Division, but it was only at Highway FC, in 2007, where he first made a real impact.

This was where he met Willard Katsande.

“For me the most important thing is to build strong relationships with my players because they are the ones who do the job for me,” Pasuwa said.

When he took over at Dynamos, cobwebs had begun to gather in the trophy cabinet.

In what was his first proper stint, as a head coach in the top-flight, Pasuwa would go on an unprecedented run, winning four titles on the trot.

“Dynamos, it was very difficult for me. I choose to forget about that phase because it was like hell,” he recalls.

Like all giants, Dynamos have their fair share of criticism, and backstabbing, and at various times during his stint, despite his overwhelming success, his position never felt entirely secure.

Few men could have handled that sort of pressure but, with the odds stacked against him, Pasuwa did not crumble.

A devout Christian who even inquires if his former players keep communion with their maker long after they have parted company, some believe his strength lies in prayer.

The last of his four titles with Dynamos was nothing short of divine.

The race went to the wire with the top three teams, including Highlanders and Harare City, finishing level on 54 points.

But, Pasuwa’s charges clinched the title, for a record 20th time, courtesy of superior goal difference.

That day, he effectively sealed his place in the Dynamos Hall of Fame.

Despite his success, there was still a fair number of sceptics who doubted if Pasuwa would ever replicate it away from DeMbare.

Even when he led the Zimbabwe Under-23 to the All-Africa Games, and the Warriors to the AFCON finals in 2017, he did not earn him the respect, he deserved, in some quarters.

The CAF A licence holder is a meticulous student of the game, at least, according to his former Warriors captain Katsande.

“He’s very modern, in terms of his training methods, tactics and systems. He pays attention to detail.

“He’s aware that in the modern game most goals come from set pieces and his teams thrive on that.”

He has been in Malawi, since leaving home, and two weeks ago he sealed his third championship on the trot, another record.

“He’s a good coach, he’s a professional, he’s a manager, he can manage a player very well,” Nyasa Big Bzzzullets defender, Sankhani Mkandawire, told FARPost.

While he has left the drama of Dynamos behind, there are rumours that at Big Bullets, Pasuwa has not had it all smooth.

He is the underrated underdog that keeps winning, but still finds it hard to earn the respect of his of his subordinates, who are always praying for his downfall. — FARPost.

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