BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
WARRIORS forward Tino Kadewere has expressed frustration after failing to inspire French side Olympic Lyon to victory coming on as a second half substitute to make his competitive debut in a goalless draw away at Bordeaux Girondins on Friday.
Kadewere missed Lyon’s season opener a fortnight ago as he was still in Zimbabwe mourning his brother Prince, who passed away after a short illness.
Lyon, who reached the semi-finals in the UEFA Champions League, thumped Dijon 4-1 in their first match of the season and now have four points in two matches.
On Friday night the Lyon strike force was a big let-down after failing to find the net despite hitting 20 shots during the match.
The 24-year-old Zimbabwean striker made a 73rd minute appearance as a replacement for Lyon’s talismanic captain, Dutch winger Memphis Depay.
“I’m happy to have played my first match with the club. Unfortunately, it turned out badly for us, but we will continue to work to rectify the situation starting on Tuesday. It was a tough match today,” Kadewere told Olympique Lyon TV after the match.
Kadewere follows in the footsteps of Zimbabwe football great Benjani Mwaruwari and another former Warriors star Harlington Shereni, who are the only other Zimbabweans to have played in the French Ligue 1.
A lot is expected from Kadewere, who was the top scorer in Ligue 2 last season for Le Havre before making a big money move to Lyon in January and immediately loaned back to his former club.
But there is not time to sulk for the former Harare City man as he is set to get another chance to open his official goal account in Lyon’s next league assignment away to Montpellier this Tuesday night.
Kadewere appears to have manoeuvred his way above other striker Ryan Cherki and former Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore in the pecking order.
According to Kadewere, the goal for the club is to finish in the Champions League spots after agonisingly missing out last season in a Covid-19 virus-interrupted race.
But he feels the team may need to step up in order to achieve the targets.
“The goal this year will be to return to the Champions League, it will take a step up to achieve this goal,” he said.
Kadewere could make his home debut against Nimes on Friday this week before Lyon end their month’s fixtures away at Lorient on September 27.
Game time for Kadewere could also be pleasing for Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria scheduled for November.
Meanwhile, Warriors captain Knowledge Musona’s side KAS Eupen won their first match of the season in the Belgian Pro League after beating 10-man Gent 2-1 on Friday.
Musona, who has been used at the heart of the midfield by coach Beñat San José, was substituted in the 68th minute for Belgian Julien Ngoy.
Eupen have recorded one win, three draws and one defeat in the five matches played so far.
In Tanzania, former Highlanders striker Prince Dube continued with his memorable start at Azam FC after netting a brace in a 2-0 win over Coastal Union.
Dube assisted the only goal on his debut for Azam last week when they beat Tanzania Police in the season opener.