TINO Kadewere’s move to French second-tier side Le Havre might have surprised a number of local football fans and analysts who were probably expecting the sharp-shooting forward to land at a bigger and stronger top-flight club in one of Europe’s major leagues.
But, at 22, Kadewere — who has already been hailed by Zimbabwean football legend, Moses Chunga, as the next big thing that will come out of domestic football — is probably at the right age, and has certainly joined the best club, to grow his talent.
“Three years at #DIF (Djurgardens), it’s been so fast, but I’ve been through so many things,’’ Kadewere said. “I’ve learned a lot during those years as a football player but, moreover, as a man.
“I’ve got so much love from the fans and the team.
“Everyone has been so nice to me. I hope I will come back to Djurgardens in the future. It’s what I will be dreaming of.’’
On face value, Kadewere’s move from a club that is set to play in the UEFA Europa League to one that is in the second tier of French football looks like a wrong one.
But one needs to look at what Le Havre have done, in terms of transforming themselves as one of the best clubs when it comes to nurturing talent in European football, to realise that the Zimbabwean has probably made a move which, in the long term, could open doors for him to move to bigger clubs.
The set-up at Le Havre is focused on making the best out of the young players who come at the club and Kadewere will only have to look at some of those who have graduated from this team to realise the challenge is now on him to deliver.
Le Havre has been the breeding ground for a number of stars who have been involved in transfer deals with more than $300 million in the past few years.
This is the club that Paul Pogba, the France and Manchester United midfielder, first joined and they laid the foundation for his progress that also saw him playing for Italian powerhouse Juventus.
“The midfielder joined the Red Devils (in a complicated transfer) from Le Havre, a club that is famous for its youth academy,’’ Squakwa noted.
“Pogba joined Le Havre in 2007, and even though he only spent a couple of seasons with the club, his performances were crucial for the academy and that quickly brought him to the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“It was here where he spent his formative years and his performances for the club eventually attracted the interest of United.
“Over the years Le Havre have produced an incredible number of players who went on to star both in France and the rest of Europe.’’
Last year, the website givemesport.com even published a Le Havre XI who could probably have turned the French club into one of the heavyweights had they kept their stars at their club.
“When it comes to so-called ‘selling’ clubs in Europe, a few names particularly spring to mind,’’ Glen Durrant, a senior writer at givemesport.com noted.
“In the Premier League, for example, Southampton are renowned for nurturing top talent and then cashing in on their youngsters for a tidy sum.
“Indeed, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana all learned their craft at St. Mary’s Stadium before moves to Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool respectively.
“Then you have the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Ajax and Atletico Madrid, who have all lost future superstars down the years.
“Atletico have a particular reputation when it comes to producing top talent, having developed and later sold Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres and Diego Costa.
“In terms of France, Le Havre have sold some pretty big names down the years. Here’s an XI of the players they’ve let go since the turn of the millennium.
GOALKEEPER —STEVE MANDANDA
Steve Mandanda spent seven years at Le Havre before joining Marseille in 2008 and developing into a fantastic goalkeeper. He’s now at Crystal Palace.
RIGHTBACK — PASCAL CHIMBONDA
Now retired at the age of 38, former right-back Pascal Chimbonda played for no less than 11 clubs after leaving Le Havre in 2003, most notably for Tottenham from 2006-2008.
CENTREBACK — JEAN-ALAIN BOUMSONG
Okay, so Le Havre’s potential defence isn’t great. Jean-Alain Boumsong began his senior career in northwestern France before playing for the likes of Rangers, Newcastle United and Juventus.
CENTREBACK — SOULEYMANE DIAWARA
Far from the biggest name in this line-up, Souleymane Diawara largely stuck to playing in Ligue 1 after leaving Le Havre in 2003.
LEFTBACK — BENJAMIN MENDY
At 22-years-old, Benjamin Mendy is the youngest player in this XI having played for Le Havre from 2007 to 2013. The talented left-back is now at Monaco.
CENTRAL DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER — LASSANA DIARRA
Now we’re talking. Lassana Diarra is one of the biggest names on this list having played for Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid since leaving Le Havre in 2005. He’s now a free agent.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER — PAUL POGBA
That’s right, Paul Pogba once turned out for Le Havre as an exciting 15-year-old. His talent caught the eye of Manchester United in 2009 and he’s since rejoined the Red Devils for a world-record fee.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDER — DIDIER DIGARD
I know what you’re thinking — who on earth is Didier Digard? The 30-year-old is another relatively unknown name in this XI having played for Le Havre from 1999-2007.
RIGHT WINGER — RIYAD MAHREZ
Riyad Mahrez’s rise has been nothing short of sensational. The 26-year-old joined Leicester City from Le Havre in 2014 and won the Premier League in his second season.
STRIKER — SINAMA PONGOLLE
Sinama Pongolle’s name largely resonates with Liverpool fans having joined from Le Havre in 2001, though he was immediately sent back on loan for two seasons.
LEFT WINGER — DIMITRI PAYET
And last but not least, you have Dimitri Payet. The 29-year-old spent four years in Le Havre’s youth set up and, having played for Lille and West Ham United since, is now back at Marseille.’’
Kadewere now has the challenge to make his mark.