BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
HIS team might have been relegated in his debut season in the Turkish top-flight football league, but Zimbabwe and Yeni Malatyaspor defender Teenage Hadebe (pictured) could be playing in the Uefa Champions League next season after emerging as a transfer target of top Turkish Super Lig sides Besiktas and Trabzonspor.
Hadebe’s maiden season in Turkey ended in disappointment last Saturday when his side Yeni Malatyaspor’s relegation from the Super Lig was confirmed after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Gaziantep FK on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign.
Yeni Malatyaspor’s relegation came as a surprise after their exploits during the 2019 season when they finished fifth on the league table and qualified for the second round of the Uefa Europa League qualifiers.
While the campaign might have ended in agony for the club, there appears to be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for Hadebe who made 23 appearances in the league and 28 across all competitions.
“Difficult roads often lead us to beautiful destinations. Never give up. My mother’s blessings. In God we trust,” Hadebe said in a post on Twitter after his team’s relegation last week.
Now the 24-year-old Bulawayo-born defender has reportedly emerged as a major transfer target for two of Turkish’s biggest clubs Besiktas and Trabzonspor, who finished second and third respectively on the Turkey Super Lig standings during the just-ended season.
The influential Turkish daily newspaper Takvim yesterday revealed that Trabzonspor have edged closer to completing the signing of Hadebe, with meetings between the club and the player’s representatives set to begin soon.
“Trabzonspor, which continues its transfer activities before the new season, continues its initiatives for the defender of Yeni Malatyaspor, the 24-year-old Zimbabwean Teenage Hadebe. The Black Sea Storm management is expected to meet with the player’s manager. His contract with the club expires in 2022. “The young player played 23 games in the league last season,” the Takvim daily reported yesterday.
Trabzonspor, who won the Turkish Cup last Wednesday after a 2-0 win over Alanyaspor, are set to feature in the 2020-2021 Uefa Champions League after finishing second in the Turkish Süper Lig behind champions Istanbul Basaksehir.
The Black Sea Storm, as Trabzonspor are affectionately known, were recently linked with a move for Warriors and Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba.
Trabzonspor are one of the most decorated clubs in Turkey with six Super Lig titles and nine Turkish Cup titles. They were the first club not based in the Turkish capital Istanbul to win the league.
If the move to Trabzonspor fails to materialise, Hadebe is not short of potential suitors in Turkey’s top-flight with Besiktas also weighing a move for the former Highlanders, Bantu Rovers and Chicken Inn defender.
Besiktas head coach Sergen Yalçın Hadeb, according to the Turkish daily newspaper Sabah, has identified Hadebe as an alternative if he fails in his pursuit of his top transfer target Welinton Souza Silva of Alanyaspor.
“Welinton from Alanyaspor is considered a main transfer target for Besiktas, which continues its transfer business ahead of next season. As an alternative to Welinton, 24-year-old Zimbabwean defender Hadebe of Yeni Malatyaspor has been identified on the list of coach Sergen Yalçın Hadeb. “It was learned that the management expected talks with Welinton to come to a final conclusion, but if they fail they will turn to Hadebe, who is determined to leave the Yeni Malatyaspor due to the increase in his suitors,” Sabah reported.
Hadebe previously played for local clubs Bantu Rovers, Highlanders and Chicken Inn, before joining Kaizer Chiefs in July 2017.
He caught the attention of Yeni Malatyaspor with his performances at Chiefs during the 2018 season where he was one of their notable performers in a poor season.
Prior to his move to Turkey, Hadebe was part of the Warriors squad that took part at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where he featured in all three group games against Egypt‚ Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hadebe has expressed his desire to play in the English Premier League and a move to one of the bigger sides in Turkey will be a big step towards realising the dream.