The Sunday Mail
AN uncanny eye for goal, which has seen him score an average 1.5 goals per game, and that “unique” football intelligence detected long back by the legendary Moses Chunga, are some of the attributes that have made the French believe that they can find another Tino Kadewere in Zimbabwe.
The 23-year-old Kadewere, who turns out for French Ligue 2 side Le Havre, is now a record holder in this Division after scoring his ninth goal in the opening six games when his side beat Caen 3-0 on Friday night.
Before Kadewere, Ivorian Abraham Guie Gneki scored eight times in the first six games with Tours during the 2010-2011 season.
Kadewere, who has scored 64 percent of Le Havre’s 14 league goals so far, smashed Gneki’s eight-year record when he found the target in the 93rd minute to complete a perfect Friday night for Le Havre. His team shot to the top after that emphatic win.
The former Harare City star is in his second season at Le Havre, after joining from Swedish side FC Djurgardens in July 2018. However, the Zimbabwean has already done enough to convince his club to scout for more talent in the Southern African nation. “It’s such an honour to be playing in these top countries, it is important for the future players growing in Zimbabwe. “For example, my team is now looking at bringing a lot more talent from Zimbabwe because of the faith and belief they have in me,” Kadewere told The Sunday Mail Sport.
Kadewere is one of the few players who were retained in a new-look Warriors squad announced by caretaker coach Joey Antipas last week, although he has often struggled to bring club form to the national team.
Zimbabwe play Somalia in a 2022 World Cup preliminary round qualifier, as they make a return to the global stage after missing out on the 2018 qualifiers through suspension.
Due to security fears in Somalia, the first leg is in Djibouti on Thursday, with the return leg set for Barbourfields in Bulawayo next Sunday.
However, Kadewere’s appearance for the Somalia tie is not yet definite as he has been battling a slight groin injury. His club manager, Paul Le Guen, is reportedly reluctant to gamble with one of his most prized assets.
Le Guen describes Kadewere as a “different player.”
“He is player who has superior talent,” he told the French media recently.
Kadewere has grown in stature under the tutelage of Le Guen, a former Paris Saint-Germain player who also won three successive league titles as coach of Olympic Lyon in the French top-flight.
Kadewere scored five goals in 23 appearances last season, but the Highfield bred star has already surpassed that tally in only six starts in the current term.
“Ever since I returned from the Afcon finals, I have been a new person. I told myself if I have been working at 100 per cent, then I have to try and reach 150 per cent.
“So my work mode has changed. I am also praying to God, asking Him to keep me going,” said Kadewere.
During Zimbabwe’s doomed Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Egypt, he only played for 20 minutes.
He came on as a late substitute in the Warriors’ 0-4 drubbing at the hands of DR Congo in the last Group A match.
Many times, critics have hit hard on Kadewere for failing to live up to expectations whenever he pulls on the Warriors’ jersey.
Kadewere has eight appearances (including friendlies and Cosafa matches) for Zimbabwe and has scored twice in the 2018 Cosafa Cup final, when the Warriors beat Zambia 4-2 after extra time.
“I think it is only a matter of time and chance. I am still young, so I am still praying and hoping that one day I will shine for the Warriors and make Zimbabwean people proud.
“I have faith. I am sure that will happen.
“It’s all about hard work, prayers and determination. I have set goals for myself that I will not be free to mention but I thank God everything is going the way I hoped for because I have always had dreams since I was a little boy.
“To be honest, growing up in the ghetto was a blessing. I have great memories of playing football in the streets and the good thing is that I associated myself with good friends who were also into football. So our life as kids was always about football.”
Alongside Marshal Munetsi (23) who also plays in France for Ligue 1 side Reims and Marvelous Nakamba (25), who is now Zimbabwe’s most high profile player after joining English Premier Soccer League side Aston Villa, Kadewere is part of a cast that represents the Warriors’ future.
However, Munetsi is yet to make his Ligue 1 bow for Reims who play Nantes in their fourth match of the season this afternoon.
As expected, Kadewere and Munetsi are in constant contact.
“I talk to Marshy (Munetsi), we are agemates so we try to help each other both on and off the field.
“I have been here for a while now so I told him that the most important thing for him is to try and speak French, that will help him along the way.
“Of course, a lot of people are looking up to the guys that have been playing in the national team for quite a while and I am one of them.
“I know I am expected to bring club form to the national team,” said Kadewere.
Elvis Chipezeze, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Divine Lunga, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Evans Rusike, Thabani Kamusoko and Khama Billiat are some of the players who were retained in the national team set up.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said the local contingent’s camp will start tomorrow. The team is expected to leave for Djibouti on Tuesday. They will link up with their foreign teammates in the East African country.
The Warriors will then return to Harare on Friday ahead of Sunday’s reverse fixture against Somalia at Barbourfields.