insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI
EXCITEMENT is running high in Zimbabwean football on the prospects of Tino Kadewere breaking into the big European leagues following recent reports linking him with a potential move to the English Premier League and the French Ligue 1.
The fact that both Southampton and Bournemouth have been linked with the 24-year-old is a cause for celebration in Zimbabwe considering that the whole world is talking about the interest the Warriors striker has aroused.
That UEFA Champions League title participants Lyon — who are one of the top sides in the French Ligue 1 — are also reportedly monitoring the Zimbabwean following his goal-scoring spree at his French Ligue 2 side Le Havre, is a sign that the former Harare City striker is slowly coming to his true potential.
More importantly for Zimbabwe as a footballing nation, is the fact that Kadewere’s wheels of fortune are turning just a few months after the Southern African country exported another of the younger generation — Marvelous Nakamba — to the English Premiership after he was snapped up by Aston Villa from Belgium’s Club Brugge.
What is even heartening in the case of Kadewere is that not only has he attracted the attention of Southampton and Bournemouth, but also that of Scottish giants, Celtic, as well as that of the Turkish pair of Galatasaray and Besiktas, and Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal Riyad.
Although no deal has been struck yet, these are surely good times rolling for the Zimbabwean footballer, who never at one time imagined that he would have the attention of clubs with a
well-documented history in European football such as Celtic and Galatasaray.
However, Kadewere should not get over-excited with what is going on around him. As can occur in such good cases, unkind fates have a knack of digging up whirlwinds and Kadewere has to think deep before making a decision on where he wants to play his football next.
Money is important and big league football attracts attention, but it is imperative for him to first look at the club — and the country — and its system of play and see whether it suits his style of football best instead of rushing to join a club because it is popular around the world or is offering more.
From what we hear, Kadewere has a wide choice, England, France, Scotland, and Turkey, and on that premise, the 24-year-old should avoid following the path that nearly ruined the career of Warriors’ captain Knowledge Musona.
Instead of going to Celtic in Scotland, Musona chose to go to Germany where the style of play was far much different from what he was used to. He failed to make it at both TSG Hoffeinheim and Augsburg, and that failure continues to haunt him, and has had a big toll in his career.
Since leaving the Bundesliga, Musona has gone on a
merry-go-round of clubs, but the spark that was there before he went to Germany has failed to return and now he is also unsettled at Anderlecht in Belgium.
It also happened with Peter Ndlovu way back in 1993. Nsukuzonke could have scaled greater heights than what he is known for today had he grabbed the opportunity that came his way when he was offered a move to the Reds of Liverpool. Instead, he chose to stay on at Coventry City and gone was the chance of a lifetime.
Kadewere should know that football is a career of opportunities and a mistake in the choice of a club to play for could ruin the whole career and the right decision could open up new horizons — and that is the time that he finds himself in right now.
Kadewere should decide whether to grab the EPL or Ligue 1 opportunities — when they come — or follow the Benjani Mwaruwari route. The Undertaker — as Mwaruwari is famously known in Zimbabwe — never rushed things, but steadily rose up the ladder. From humble European beginnings at Zurich in Switzerland, Mwaruwari found himself at modest French club, Auxerre, before the big money move to Manchester City in England.
This is Kadewere’s hardest decision time, whether to jump into the English Premiership or the French Ligue 1 or go the Mwaruwari route to either Scotland or Turkey — but at a recognised big club.
The Kadewere story is refreshing news and keeps the football family away from the usual daily dosage of the never-ending impasse between Zifa president Felton Kamambo and Cosafa boss Phillip Chiyangwa.
Kadewere, however, should also learn to transform his club form to the national team as he has never impressed on all the occasions he has been given the chance to don that famous national team jersey.
The Warriors have two important hurdles to overcome — the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 World Cup — for which Kadewere is expected to play a huge role in making sure those challenges are overcome.
What he is doing at club level will be judged against what he will do for the Warriors and Kadewere should know the sort of behaviour the Warriors fans exhibit when they do not get what they expect. This is the time for him to show the whole of Zimbabwe why he is being talked about all over the globe.
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