BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
A VIDEO of Le Havre Athletic Club fans serenading inform Tino Kadewere at the Stade Océane has been trending on social media as the 23-year-old Zimbabwe international continues to establish himself as a firm crowd favourite at the Ligue 2 club which is chasing promotion into the topflight of French football.
Kadewere is currently topping the scoring charts in the French Ligue 2 with four goals from three matches at the club’s supporters recently came up with a song to show their
appreciation for the promising striker who, despite his growing popularity in Europe, continues to divide opinion back home.
He got his campaign off to the best possible start with a brace during Le Havre’s 2-2 away draw to AC Ajaccio last month and he was on target again a week later as his lone strike
rescued a point for Le Havre in 1-1 home draw against Niort.
Last Friday, the ex-Prince Edward School pupil continued his rich vein of form after opening the scoring and providing an assist for the winning goal scored by Alexander Bonnet in his
team’s of 2-1 victory at ES Troyes AC.
The lanky dreadlocked forward leads the goal-scoring charts ahead of AC Ajaccio’s Gaetan Courtet and Adrian Grbic of Clermont, who are both on three goals.
Kadewere’s goal-scoring prowess, which is reminiscent of his final season at Swedish side Djurgårdens IF before his injury and subsequent big move to France, has been earning him rave
reviews and, more importantly, adoration from the Les Ciels et Marines faithful.
Kadewere, however, revealed that although he is happy with his good form, he was more concerned with helping the team earn promotion back to the French Ligue 1. The club, which is
famous for nurturing talent in European football, used to be home to French and Manchester United star Paul Pogba and Algeria international Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City.
“No matter how many goals I score, like the others, I am at the service of the team, with the same idea in mind: to be in Ligue 1 in a year,” the former Harare City player was quoted in the French media recently.
Le Havre coach Paul le Guen has been waxing lyrical about Kadewere and last week revealed that he was hopeful that his main striker would remain at the club when the French summer
transfer window closes on September 2.
“He is a very, very good player, I hope he will stay with us, The “Ciel et Marine” must pray that their attacker does not leave Normandy before the end of the transfer window. “I
really want him to stay with us,” Le Guen told BeIN Sports.
The former France international, who was so convinced with Kadewere’s abilities that he signed him from Djurgårdens IF when he was nursing a long-term injury, said the Zimbabwean has
the potential to be among the Golden Boot contenders in the second-tier league.
“I think he’s able to be among the top scorers in Ligue 2. He has the potential, he’s a very clever player, intelligent in the game.
“The (partnership) he forms with Jamal (Thiaré) has become more complementary, Tino goes more to the ball while Jamal takes the deep, they have to play with the qualities of their
partners,” Guen told the French media.
While Kadewere’s goal-scoring prowess has made him a darling with the Le Harve fans, he continues to divide opinion locally.
His international career got off to a promising start when he scored a memorable match-winning brace for the Warriors in last year’s Cosafa Cup final, but Kadewere failed to replicate
his form when given an opportunity in the national team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Kadewere was also largely unused during the Warriors’ disappointing campaign at the Afcon finals in Egypt where Zimbabwe were knocked out in the first round after finishing bottom of their group with one point from three matches.
The former Harare City player would, however, be hoping to reproduce his club form for the Warriors when they return to international action for the first time since the dismal Afcon
campaign during the preliminary round of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers next month.
The Warriors take on continental lightweights Somalia in the first leg set for September 2 and the return leg a week later.
Zimbabwe are also expected to kick-start their qualification campaign for the 2020 African Cup of Nations where they were drawn in the same group with reigning champions Algeria,
neighbours Zambia and Botswana in the Afcon qualifying campaign.