He reminisced in an interview in his hometown of Bulawayo how he, like most of his peers, grew up playing street football barefoot. He was plucked by one Jani Gwere, who recommended him to Bulawayo-based Zimbabwe Saints, then one of the PSL giants. “That was the birth of my career. Commanding a starting berth back then was tough as the club boasted great players like the late Joseph Machingura. Competing against the top players was a Herculean task, but I eventually managed to gel in,” recalled Sawu.
Finishing as the club’s top scorer in his first two seasons, it was not long before he caught the eye of international scouts and moved to then Cypriot first division side, APOP Kinyras Peyias, where made an instant impression, helping the modest side to topflight league promotion.
“The Apop move was a dream come true. Bristling with the energy and confidence of a teenager, I was determined to conquer. I finished as APOP’s second top goal scorer.”
He returned to his boyhood club to in 1993, after the new APOP coach brought in a contingent of his own players. Half a season later he got a second bite of the European cherry, moving to Swiss outfit, SC Kriens, There the “Silent Assassin” established himself as the Dream team chief striker, spearheading the team’s victories against the likes of Cameroon, Egypt and Guinea with his solitary goals, en-route to near qualification for the 1994 global showpiece.
While he was establishing himself as a top striker, Sawu also was earning a reputation as a Nomadic player. After Kriens, he had another successful spell at FC Lucerne between 1994 and 1998. He crossed the floor to rivals, BSC Young Boys, but played for one season before moving to Basel for the 1999-2000 campaign, where he lasted two seasons.
“The competition there was stiff but I managed to maintain my status as one of their most reliable strikers. I kept banging in the goals,” he recalled. The run of form attracted the interest of FC Wil in 2000. The “Hitman” also played for a season with Chinese outfit Chongqing Lifan.
“When I was in China I was nostalgic and had to relocate back home to join Dynamos becoming a calming figure in a youthful outfit. I enjoyed every moment of my career there between 2003-4 seasons, despite the tough competition for places. I believe we were the best team then,” said Sawu, who later secured a move to neighbouring South Africa, where he joined Umtata Bush Bucks.
In 2011 Sawu and Dream Team team-mate Willard Khumalo were tasked with reviving Zimbabwe Saints, but internal squabbles resulted in their sacking and the subsequent relegation of the club.
The 41-year-old former Zimbabwe Soccer Star of the Year is now national Under-17 coach. He holds a UEFA B certificate and a CAF C certificate.Post published in: Football