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Robson Sharuko in CAIRO, Egypt
TINO KADEWERE’S transformation into a Warrior hasn’t been a smooth ride — the goals haven’t flowed as expected, some fans have questioned if he is ready to make the huge leap and there have been times when he has appeared short on confidence.
Of course, it was never going to be easy in a team where the shadow of Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat always loom large for those who arrive to join the attack.
An explosive introduction at the COSAFA Cup last year provoked expectations, but by his own admission, things haven’t sailed as smoothly as he would have wanted.
At 23, Kadewere still has age on his side, but he knows he has to make impact as quickly as possible, and could be handed a big chance at this AFCON finals.
While his focus is on his national team commitments, Kadewere must also be following the events that have been happening elsewhere across the Mediterranean in Europe, where he is plying his trade in France.
The Zimbabwean international forward has been impressive at his club side Le Havre, in the French second-tier league, where he was one of their leading players last season with five goals and four assists.
Alimani Gory of Mali was the leading goal-scorer with eight goals and four assists while Zinedine Ferhat of Algeria scored five times and provided nine assists.
Kadewere revealed he signed for Le Havre because he was charmed by the way the club laid the foundation for such stars like Paul Pogba and Riyad Mahrez to move to some of the top clubs in Europe.
“As a football player, you have to look at the history of the club,” Kadewere told Le Havre’s official website.
“The players that came here before, and when I looked at where they are playing now, it is what gave me a thought that I can come here and develop as a young player.
“Le Havre can give me a great opportunity to go to another level.
Looking at players who played here before like Pogba and Mahrez, you see
where they are playing now. If I do my best, I can go to a big level.
“I had so many offers from elsewhere.
“There other ones from Belgium — Standard Liege and KV Oostende — and
also a team in the Emirates. I chose Le Havre because of the history of
the club. It doesn’t matter we play in League 2, but I know the team
has the capacity to go to League 1.”
And, for Kadewere, the developments in Spain this week will provide hope that he is at the right club, which if things go according to plan, could see him also making the huge leap to one of the giants of world football.
French defender Ferland Mendy completed his move from Lyon to Real Madrid this week on a six-year deal worth about £47,1 million.
“At the beginning, I just couldn’t believe it,” Mendy told reporters after his move to the Spanish giants was completed.
“This is a great club and being able to sign a contract with them to me is something absolutely incredible, fantastic.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed and hopefully everything will go well here.”
This means Real Madrid have splashed about £300 million this summer alone as they go about trying to strengthen their club after a poor campaign last season.
Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard, Serbian forward Luka Jovic and defender Eder Militao have also been recruited, while Pogba could also arrive at Real Madrid.
For Kadewere, it would be interesting to note that, just two years ago, Mendy was playing for Le Havre and now he is at Real Madrid.
Crucially, for the Zimbabwean who has struggled to make an immediate impression for the Warriors, Mendy’s story also provides some life lessons.
For, this is a man, who at one stage in his life, thought he would never walk again, let alone be a professional footballer for Real Madrid.
“I was in a wheelchair for a while and I spent between six and seven months in hospital doing rehabilitation so I could walk again,” the 24-yearold Mendy told the BBC Spo
“They told me I wasn’t going to play again. Now I’m at Real Madrid.”