Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
IN the year that his father will turn 60, Fungai Kwashi has decided to follow the footsteps of his dad and mentor by venturing into coaching.
Tostao as he is popularly known among family and peers is son to former CAPS United coach Steve “The Dude’’ Kwashi.
On Wednesday Tostao was appointed assistant to Englishman Mark Harrison in a surprising new technical set-up at CAPS United where Brenna Msiska bounced back as goalkeepers’ coach.
The 35 year-old winger has spent the last eight years plying his trade in the V- League in Vietnam for such clubs like Long An, Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa and Saigon but has now decided to follow the route that his father Steve took when venturing into coaching at the end of his playing days for such clubs like Dynamos and Zimbabwe Saints.
Steve was a highly successful gaffer at CAPS United until a horrific car accident cut short his coaching career on March 26 2001 and left him in a coma for nearly seven months.
At the time of his accident Steve was travelling from Hwange after a Premiership assignment Fourteen years later Tostao, who also began his football career at CAPS United having played for the Green Machine since the age of seven will be a part of the Green Machine dugout.
He was handed his CAPS United debut by his father in 1996 when he was just 16 in a Premiership clash against Black Aces in which he came on as a second half substitute for an injured Alois Bunjira.
Now Tostao is relishing getting a hand in coaching as CAPS United seek to build on a good season they had under Taurai Mangwiro last year in which they finished third on the Premiership standings and were unbeaten at home at the National Sports Stadium.
Tostao yesterday told The Herald that he felt humbled by being named an assistant coach at CAPS United and also paid tribute to the club’s president Twine Phiri for “giving a chance to coach the club”.
“I thank God for granting me the opportunity to be given this position and for people to have faith in me. Bla Steve (his father) taught me lot of things together with my mother Christine and I am thankful for that.
“In fact I derive much of my inspiration from the fact that the Dude played and coached and the fact that I am his son also shows that it’s in the blood and just like the Black brothers in tennis, it runs in the family.
“I was playing in Vietnam in the last eight years of my football journey. When I left CAPS in the 2000-2001 season.
I went to the UK and studied for a diploma and later Bachelor of Science management degree.
“My mother was hard on me with regards education because she didn’t want me to fall in the same trap as many footballers who do not have a fall-back position after their careers,’’ Tostao said.
The former Zimbabwe youth international also said he was hopeful that that experience he had gained from his long spells in England and Vietnam would help him ease into his new assignment as CAPS United assistant coach. Tostao also hinted that he could be registered as a player assistant coach by CAPS United in the coming season.
“I have learnt a lot of things in Vietnam, from time management, respect for others, different culture, different football approaches, in fact it was an eye opener for me and the Vietnamese are a happy people and they have a number of similarities with Africans’.
Tostao also gave his views on the state of the local game and challenged the administrators to take a business approach to the sport.
“I would not want to criticise our football a lot but I have noticed that our players have actually gone smaller compared to the time when we had players like Dumisani Mpofu, Joseph Dube, Kaitano Tembo and I think maybe it is because of the dynamics involved such as the economy and the social life.
“We have to ask ourselves why the football has gone down yet we still have the talent and I think we need to invest more in the players and take football as a business.
“Government should have a budget for Zifa and sponsors should come in more numbers to the PSL right down to the grassroots and there is need to understand that you cannot make without spending money so we have to invest and keep the players happy’’.
Tostao also said he would join the CAPS United players in their drills in pre-season training and wait to hear from the club management’s decision on whether he can also double as a player.
“We will see how it goes in pre-season and I will talk to management to see what is best for the club and if the management feels I can offer something to the Green army I will fight, I have always been a soldier.
“We have seen Ryan Giggs playing for Manchester United even when he was assistant coach and he was 39 and I am only 35’’.
Tostao is also under no illusions about the task that awaits his boss Harrison and CAPS United in the 2015 season.
“What Tau did was a great job and we have to try and keep improving on that but we will not put ourselves under pressure. We have to be realistic and acknowledge that it is not going to be easy, we have to work hard and we also need to restore the Cup Kings tag at CAPS United but that would have to be a process,’’ Tostao said. His father led CAPS United to the league championship in 1996 with a fine attacking side that captured the imagination of the nation.
The Dude also won several cup titles with Makepekepe and Tostao and his crew of Harrison and Msiska are certain to find his achievements are hard act to follow especially against the background of a CAPS United that is now struggling to look after its players and often characterised by industrial action by the players.