By Robson Sharuko
Highly-rated Zimbabwe international forward Tino Kadewere has revealed he signed for French side Le Havre after being impressed with the way the club nurtured the skills of Paul Pogba and Riyad Mahrez and helped them become superstars.
He feels the team can do the same for his career in a mission that should eventually see him playing for one of the game’s giants.
The 22-year-old told French journalists it was always his mission to play in France, as another of his stepping stones to move to a bigger club, and he chose Le Havre despite interest in his services from Belgian clubs Standard Liege and KV Oostende.
Le Havre are in Ligue 2 of French football, but Kadewere believes the club has the potential to make it into the top-flight Ligue 1 which is being dominated, at the moment, by the cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain who have used their huge financial muscle to lure the likes of Neymar of Brazil.
Kadewere also revealed there was interest in his services from Major Soccer League side Real Salt Lake City, but he ended up signing for Le Havre because he believes they will provide him with the right environment to prosper and become the footballer he dreams of.
The lanky forward is currently injured and also made it clear that he only hopes to return to action by the end of September or the beginning of October, confirming The Herald’s exclusive story that he will miss the Warriors’ next AFCON qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville.
“In Sweden, everyone loves Zlatan,” said Kadewere. “He is the King there . . . my goal is to work very hard everyone should remember the name Tino in the future.”
He said he was happy to sign for Le Havre and thanked the club for their gamble in his services even though he was carrying an injury.
“Honestly, I feel very, very happy . . . I was always looking forward to the move.
“As a football player, you need also to look at the history of the club, looking at the history of the club, Le Havre is a big club, the oldest club in France today.
“The players that played here before and look where they are playing now, it’s something that gave me the thought that I can go there and develop also as a young player.
“I think Le Havre can give me a great opportunity to go to another level, looking at the players that played here before like Pogba, Mahrez, see where they are playing now.
“I think if I come here and do my best, it’s a way to go to the next level. At the moment I’m here and my focus is to help the team go to Ligue 1.”
He said he believed his new team had the capacity to make it into Ligue 1.
“I had so many offers, the other ones are from Belgium. I had Standard Liege and KV Oostende from Belgium and I had MSL team, Real Salt Lake, I chose Le Havre because of the history of the club,” said Kadewere.
“It’s a big club and big team . . . it doesn’t matter the team is in Ligue 2, I know it has the capacity and capability to go to Ligue 1.”
He said he always wanted to play in France and could have signed for Sochaux in July 2015 but decided against the move because he felt he was too raw to make an impression.
Instead, he said, he chose to go to Djurgardens in Sweden because he felt the club and league would help him ease into the challenges of European football without having a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
He described his stay in Sweden as part of a grooming exercise and he now feels he is ready to take on the world.
“I have an injury, I’m happy the team showed confidence in me.”
He described himself as a fast player with a sharp eye for goal.
Kadewere showed great composure, and confidence, during the interview and said he was in France not just to make up the numbers but to make a big impression in the game.
The forward has already been hailed by Zimbabwean football legend Moses Chunga as a talent he expects to expload in the coming years. He was drafted into the Warriors side for the COSAFA Cup this year and scored twice in the final, including a last-gasp equaliser against Zambia, which took the match into extra-time.
One of his teammates at that COSAFA Cup, Terrence Dzvukamanja, last night announced his arrival in the South African Premiership with one of the goals as Bidvest Wits thrashed Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 at the FNB Stadium.
The former Ngezi Platinum Stars forward headed home his team’s second goal to make it one goal in his first two matches for Wits.
In contrast, Khama Billiat could only provide an assist for the Chiefs goal as the Amakhosi turned on a show that was short on quality for long periods of the game.