ZIMBABWEAN Olympian Lloyd Zvasiya is quickly establishing himself as one of the most sought after strength and conditioning coaches in the United Kingdom after recently taking up a role with the academy side of Premier League side West Bromwich Albion.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 35-year-old retired sprinter, who specialised in the 400m, reaching the semifinals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, is now a certified strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer based in London.
In an interview with Standardsport last week, Zvasiya, who has also worked with the Birmingham-based Aston Manor Basketball Academy, spoke of his delight at working with one of the top football clubs in the UK.
“Being part of a big institution like the West Bromwich Albion Academy has been an amazing experience so far and definitely the highlight of my career as an upcoming strength and conditioning coach. It has been a great learning experience and I hope to impart as much knowledge as I can to upcoming young players,” he said.
Zvasiya credited his recent rise to working with top coaches like former England basketball player and coach Paul Douglas, who is now the Aston Manor Basketball Academy head coach.
“Working with high-profile coaches like Paul Douglas certainly helped me; I’ve learnt a lot working with him and it has certainly made everything easier. My goal now is to establish myself more as a strength and conditioning expert. I also want to continue learning as much as I can from people who have been in the profession longer so that I can gain more experience,” he said.
Zvasiya, the brother to former Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs central defender Lincoln Zvasiya, recently conducted a strength and conditioning clinic in Zvishavane to help participants gain a better understanding of high performance training methods.
The former sprinter, however, expressed his disappointment at the lack of interest by local sports stakeholders — something which he feels has had a negative effect towards the development of the local sports sector.
Zvasiya was particularly surprised by the lack of interest from most Premier Soccer League clubs.
“The response was disappointing. It’s shocking that most Premier League teams in Zimbabwe don’t have fitness coaches at all and I believe that’s why most of our players struggle when they move to more professional clubs, for instance in South Africa. I must, however, acknowledge the support I received from one of our local football coaches Lloyd Mutasa as he seemed to have a better appreciation of the importance of fitness coaches,” he said.
Zvasiya is now an international fitness instructor and a certified strength and conditioning coach certified by the UK Sports Association in London, specialising in sports nutrition and sports psychology.
He represented Zimbabwe at the 2004 Olympics in Greece, the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and various editions of the All-Africa Games and the African Athletics Championships — winning several medals along the way.
Zvasiya won national praise in 2004 at the African Athletics Championships in Brazzaville, Congo, when he got on the podium and sang the country’s national anthem after the organisers had played the wrong anthem.
Then, he was part of the 4x100m relay team with Young Talkmore Nyongani, Themba Ncube and Lewis Banda which won a memorable gold medal.