By Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THREE weeks ago, Teenage Hadebe’s career at Turkish side Yeni Malatysaspor appeared to be at the crossroads as he battled to get a new passport to return to his European base.
But, three weeks is a long time in football. Today, the gangly Warriors centreback is back among his team’s favourite sons after another inspirational show at the weekend that earned him a place in the Turkish Super League Team of the Week.
Hadebe has been one of the standout players at his side this season.
He made the Turkish Super League Team of the Week after helping his team to an impressive 2-0 win over Besiktas, one of the giants of football in that country.
That the victory was delivered away from home, made this triumph even more special.
Besiktas are, alongside Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, one of the traditional giants of Turkish football and have won the Super League 15 times while being runners-up 14 times. They have also won the Turkish Cup nine times while finishing as runners-up eight times.
Before Sunday’s match, in their backyard, Besiktas had last lost a league match on September 29, when they slumped to a 1-4 thrashing at the hands of Tabzonspor.
They then won their next game 2-0 against Alanyaspor, were held to a goalless draw against Ankaragucu before embarking on a winning spree which saw then beat Galatasaray 1-0, Antalyaspor 2-1, Denislispor 1-0, Konyaspor 1-0, Slovan Brastislava 2-1, Kayserispor 4-1 and Kasimpasa 3-2.
Then, on Sunday, that winning run was brought to a halt by Hadebe and his teammates. Besiktas are home to German goalkeeper Loris Karius, who is on loan from Liverpool, and Egyptian midfielder, Mohamed Elneny, who is on loan from Arsenal.
Hadebe is back in the news, in Turkey, for all the right reasons now after fighting his way back into the first team and, at the weekend, being named in the Team of the Week.
This contrasts sharply to three weeks ago when there were fears the Warriors defender could, at worst, have his contract terminated with his club set to take a hardline stance if he had failed to travel from Zimbabwe.
The player was waiting for a new passport. Hadebe’s team manager, Gibson Mahachi, revealed back then that the matter had now dragged to levels where it could have serious repercussions on the Warriors’ star career.
“I can confirm to you that his club are now, very unhappy with what is happening to Teenage and it’s now being treated as a serious case,” said Mahachi.
“When they wanted Teenage, they told us not to worry about the visa applications because they would handle that and the process was very quick and now they can’t understand how such a high-profile sportsman, who came here to represent his country, could be facing the challenges he is dealing with now.
“Teenage is new at the club and you don’t want the wrong impression to be created that he is deliberately delaying his return because he wants to have some fun back home because footballers have a tendency of doing that when they get a chance to go for international duty.
“What we are missing is the bigger picture, which is that this whole thing creates a wrong impression of Zimbabwean footballers and we might find ourselves struggling to get more players into Europe because, in this day and age, information travels very quickly.”