The Great Kali: Great indeed but not greatly appreciated


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For some reason, people seem to whisper Kalisto Pasuwa’s success as a coach, instead of highlighting it as loudly as it deserves.

The former Dynamos midfielder is one of the most decorated coaches in this football-loving country. He is simply a successful machine but sadly, he does not seem to get the respect he deserves.

When he took over as head coach at his beloved Dynamos in 2011, the Harare giants needed a cleaning company to get rid of the dust in their trophy cabinet.

He led them to four league titles on the trot, a record in Zimbabwean football that might never be broken.

DeMbare have not tasted league success since then.

Despite his history-making landmark in the blue half of the capital, many questioned if he would replicate his success anywhere else other than the DeMbare dugout.

He then ended Zimbabwe’s 11-year wait for an appearance at the AFCON finals when he guided the Willard Katsande-captained Warriors side to the 2017 edition of the continental showpiece in Gabon.

Expectations were high for Zimbabwe to finally go beyond the group stages of the biannual showpiece but those who see football through objective lenses will admit that considering the group we were in – comprising Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia, the mountain was always going to be as big as Everest.

How he left his role as Warriors coach after the finals resembled the lack of appreciation on the part of ZIFA.

The country’s football governing body simply took advantage of Pasuwa’s love and passion for the country and mistreated him throughout his tenure.

For a man who at some doubled as Warriors and Young Warriors coach but still used his car in his duties, those in charge of our football ought to have treated Pasuwa better, but they didn’t.

They (Zifa) even wanted to force him to resign after the AFCON finals in 2017, a move many felt was highly-disrespectful to the soft-spoken coach.

“We are not going to waste time by firing the coach but, I think he has to do the right thing and resign. We are waiting to hear from him and then we will move on to the next stage, which is to look for a new coach,” said then Zifa president Phil Chiyangwa.

A year later, the Zimbabwean coach joined Malawian top-flight side Nyasa Big Bullets, with who he has won three consecutive league titles.

Put simply, Pasuwa has won the league title in the last seven consecutive seasons he has coached.

Surprisingly, those in Malawi seem to appreciate him more than his countrymen, some of whom still think his success is overrated.

He was added to the Malawian National Football Coaches Association (NFCA), becoming only the second foreigner to do so.