BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
As a footballer, he did it all. David Kutyauripo played football for some of the best clubs in Zimbabwe — Dynamos and CAPS United.
Football also took him to Albania and Cyprus, while he also won a lot of caps with the national team.
Many would have thought that Diaspora, as he is popularly known in football circles, would opt to go into football coaching when he hung up his boots at Harare City in 2016.
Instead, Kutyauripo has found passion in fitness training.
Kutyauripo is currently enjoying his new-found vocation working as a fitness trainer-cum-manager at one of the country’s top fitness centres, Oxygen Gym at the Joina City Mall in Harare.
When he retired from the game, Kutyauripo briefly tried his hand at coaching Harare City Cubs and later joined Mufakose Football Club.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Sports Hub, Kutyauripo said he had run his own race on the pitch and it was now time to give youngsters a chance to shine while he gave a hand in making them physically fit.
“It was hard to make that decision (retirement), but I decided to hang up the boots after what I would call a long journey to give the youngsters a chance. I then briefly went into coaching before turning to fitness training here at Oxygen Gym. I am not a bodybuilder, my strength is in fitness training as I share with the people what I also learnt and gained during my playing career,” he said.
“It was easy to come and settle at Oxygen Gym as this is the gym I used during my playing days with Harare City Football Club. I want to thank Mrs Nyemba, the woman behind the state-of-the-art Oxygen Gym, for me to be doing what I am enjoying here at the gym since 2017,” Kutyauripo added.
At the gym, Kutyauripo is assisting football clubs such as Herentals and Harare City as well as former players like Ashley Rambanapasi, David Sengu and Desmond Maringwa.
Kutyauripo paid tribute to his wife Tsitsi Catherine Kadzonga for the unwavering support in his new trade considering that he has to leave the house at odd hours and open the gym by 4:30 in the morning.
Flashback to his days as a footballer: Kutyauripo is one of the players to have crossed the floor from bitter rivals Dynamos to play for CAPS United.
“Moving from Dynamos to CAPS United was a difficult decision considering the number of enemies one would create. But at the end of the day some decisions have to be made. In this case, it was all about greener pastures,” he said.
“I enjoyed my stay at Caps United and at that time, I was the only local player among the foreign-based who was playing for the national team. I respect Caps United as a club. It is my other team even if things are not going well for them and as for Dynamos I am saddened,” he said.
Kutyauripo said his memorable season was 2014 when he was selected a soccer star finalist while he was with Harare City.
For his success in a football career that spanned a massive two decades, Kutyauripo said he owes it to the people who have been around him, among them his wife.
He reckons it was a combination of hard training, good diet and staying away from alcohol and smoking that enabled him to play for such a long time.
Kutyauripo also had the mental strength to handle fame and fortune during his playing career.
“The most important thing when one is at the top of their game is to handle fame. A celebrity should lie low. For instance, here there are some guys who do not know that I am the manager as I can do lowly duties like cleaning because I do not put myself into the bosses’ shoes,” he said.
Kutyauripo urged owners of football teams to consider former players for valuable contributions to the teams for other positions like fitness trainers as not all of them can be successful in coaching careers.
His word of advice to aspiring footballers is summarised in three Ds: Determination, Discipline and Dedication — pillars that he believes can help fledgling sportspersons achieve their goals when religiously followed.
Although he is settled at Oxygen Gym, Kutyauripo has, however, not ruled a return to the most followed and beautiful game of football. He emphasised that he remains a sportsman.