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Steve Kwashi: The Dude Who Played It Cool and Simple

Former Caps United coach, Steve Kwashi who died at the age of 67, was a teacher, who transformed ordinary players into jewels. Former playe...

Former Caps United coach, Steve Kwashi who died at the age of 67, was a teacher, who transformed ordinary players into jewels.

Former players under his wings testified that indeed, the late coach who succumbed to COVID-19 was a rare character, always willing to offer new players a chance, even if they least expected it. 

One of the beneficiaries of Kwashi’s daring approach was former Green Machine roving striker, Stewart Murisa.

A second chance

“I was a confident player who could dribble and score goals. I had represented Zimbabwe at all levels but I wasn’t sure if I would make a significant impact at CAPS United,” Murisa told a local daily.

But Kwashi had other ideas, which Murisa aged 22 then, could not fully comprehend.

“I recall each word in that sentence. He said ‘Thank you for agreeing to join CAPS United. I know you are a confident young player,” Murisa recalled the conversation he had with the late Kwashi. 

“I want to make you the best player you can be. I know you are already one of the best players around, but I know you will be better than you are now,” added the late mentor. 
The Late Steve 'Dude' Kwashi on the Left After Winning the 1996 Trophy 
With those words, the budding striker grew in confidence and stature on the soccer field, alongside other glittering players.

Under Kwashi’s guidance, dazzling players such as Lloyd Chitembwe, Joe Mugabe, Maxwell Billiat, and Alois Bunjira emerged, while others were refined. Together, the team became a formidable entity, that went on to claim the 1996 league title.

A winner with a difference

Four years earlier, he had won the championship with Black aces. And Murisa who bagged 21 goals, claimed the 1996 Soccer Star of the Year Award. Kwashi was a humorous character, too.

At one instance, he told Murisa that, “Shutto you know what you are supposed to do, dribble them and score. Each one of us was given specific instructions ahead of that game.”

Murisa said Kwashi was able to bring the best out of any player he coached. After a successful stint, the striker later moved to South Africa.

Kwashi boasted of his ability to identify and groom players. “As a coach, you must be able to identify talent and know how to use it,” the affable coach mentioned. 

“I identified Percy Mwase while he was playing in the area zone and he went on to become a good player.”

Bunjira, one of the core players in the 1996 trailblazing squad praised the deceased mentor.

“I could write a book about this man. We have lost a great footballing legend,” Bunjira said. “He was a very nice man full of humour and wisdom. Bla Steve played a great part in my career.”  
After the Car Accident in 2001, Kwashi was Left Disabled 
A self-declared football fanatic, Kwashi gave all for the sport. “I am a football man, I was born one and will die one,” Kwashi once said. “I enjoyed success as a coach with the titles I won with Black Aces and CAPS United very, very sweet.”

Football lover to the core

To stamp his undying love for the game, Kwashi named his son after former Brazilian attacking midfielder, Eduardo Gonçalves de Andrade, generally known as Tostão.

The diminutive, intelligent, prolific left-footed forward was celebrated for his creativity and technical skills. He represented Brazil in two World Cups, winning the tournament in 1970, forming a lethal combination with Pele.

“He never gave me preferential treatment and just like every player I had to prove myself. He was a great coach, he still is,” Tosatao said during his father’s birthday in 2020. “He is also an awesome father and we are thankful that he is 66 not out.”

At the time of his death, Kwashi had been living with a permanent disability he suffered in 2001. For nearly a decade, he relied on his parents for assistance, since he had lost his speech and he could not walk.

Go well, Dude. Your demise Steve, has robbed us of a committed friend, a father, and a teacher. The football world will recall you, forever, not only for your contribution to improve the game but for your ability to charm humanity with your God-given skills.

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