WARRIORS star Tino Kadewere believes his move to France’s Ligue 2 side Le Havre AC is a big step in his dream to play in one of the big leagues in the world football.
BY HENRY MHARA
The 22-year-old signed a four-year contract with the French division one side for a reported fee of €2,5 million.
He joined from Swedish club Djurgårdens IF, where he had spent three years with the club, scoring 13 goals in 43 appearances.
Kadewere’s move from a league team in Sweden, which is set to play in the Europa League this season, to join a side who are playing in the second division looked like a step back, but the former Harare City striker, feels he made the right decision.
For him, playing in the French’s second tier league gives him a greater opportunity to make an impression on clubs in bigger European leagues.
“A lot of scouts watch French football, so I think it was a good decision for me, also taking into consideration that I’m still young and have a long way to go,” reckons Kadewere.
“Going to France is a big step for me and I’m really hoping that if I go there and perform well, and I do my best, I can make it to the bigger clubs either in France or in other bigger leagues in Europe, so that’s my hope now. I’m really happy at the moment, I can’t even express my joy because this is what I have been dreaming for, praying for, working hard for and now it is finally here. I just want to thank God and my family for being there for me always and helping me in everything that I do.”
The French second tier league has been a breeding ground for top clubs for some years now, and recently produced such stars as Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
Former West Ham star Dimitri Payet and the Manchester City duo of Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy are products of Le Havre AC.
Kadewere, a former Prince Edward student, moved to Sweden during the summer of 2015 after he impressed during trials with Djurgårdens IF.
He also had trials with French Ligue 2 side Sochaux during that time, but decided to join Djurgårdens IF on a loan in August 2015 for the remainder of the season, with an option for the club to sign him permanently on a four-year deal at the end of the year.
He made his Allsvenskan debut in August 2015, and later made his deal permanently for a reported sum of €150 000.
Kadewere scored his first league goal for the club in July 2016, scoring a consolation goal in the 94th minute of a 3-1 home loss to GIF Sundsvall, having come in as a 85th minute sub.
It is this season though that the lanky striker took the Swedish league by storm.
He was the league’s top goalscorer with eight goals before his season was cut short by an injury last month, and had become a cult hero for his club, where he made history by scoring four goals in a league game against IK Sirius, making him the first Djurgården player since Tommy Berggren in 1978 to net four goals in a single league game.
His status ballooned even more when he helped Zimbabwe to win the Cosafa Cup in South Africa in June, scoring a brace in the final of the competition.
“It was a tough decision to make considering the years that I have spent in Sweden. It has been amazing being here, it has been really brilliant for me, but with so many injuries it was tough adapt but I’m grateful that this year it changed a bit and I managed to adapt to the system and started playing regularly.
“Eventually I got a chance to make it to a bigger football country with a big league so it was good option for me to go to France considering that it has one of the best leagues in the world. I joined a team in Ligue 2 but they play better football and better in terms of financial benefits as compared to Sweden.
The striker is currently rehabilitating from an injury he suffered last month playing for Djurgårdens IF in a friendly match against Danish side Aarhus and is expected to return to full fitness in three months’ time.
“From now on I just need to focus on my rehab and make sure I come back stronger,” he said.
Djurgårdens IF yesterday said they made a good decision to cash in on their star man, just like they did on Nyasha Mushekwi, who had been left with just a year and half on his contract.