WARRIORS striker Tino Kadewere has been praised by Olympique Lyon boss Rudi Garcia for getting back up on his feet and quickly establishing himself as a key player at the French top-flight club after the untimely death of his brother.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 24-year-old star joined the Ligue 1 side in January 2020, but was initially loaned back to AC Le Havre, where he went on to win the Ligue 2 Golden Boot after scoring an incredible 20 goals in 24 matches.
Kadewere finally completed his transfer to Lyon in June, but suffered a family tragedy during the team’s pre-season after the passing of his older brother Prince Kadewere in August.
He subsequently missed the first Ligue 1 game of the 2020/21 season, but has since got back on his feet and recently scored his first goal for his new club in their 3-2 win over Strasbourg.
Kadewere, who has now made seven appearances for his club this season, was also in good form last weekend when he provided an assist during Lyon’s 4-2 win over Monaco.
However, it is the manner in which the Zimbabwe international has quickly earned the respect of his teammates and opponents, after overcoming the personal tragedy, which has impressed Lyon manager Garcia.
“Tino Kadewere had a tough time at the start of the season losing a family member,” the coach said in a pre-match press conference on Friday.
“He’s been strong and moved on and he’s helping the team a lot. We are close to him. Losing a loved one is the most difficult experience in life. The word courage only applies at such times.”
Garcia, who kept faith in Kadewere despite his slow start to the season after his return from the family bereavement, described the Warriors star as a hard worker, who is willing to give his best.
The 56-year-old Spaniard, who joined Lyon in October last year after stints with AS Roma, Olympique Marseille and Lille, has recently deployed Kadewere on the right flank and is impressed with the way he has quickly adapted to the new role.
“He is a quality player who has a good sense of the game. He is a hard worker. The wide players are there to work on the flanks, but very often play in the centre. It depends on what you want them to do.”
Kadewere said he was still coming to terms with the loss of his brother and would continue to dedicate all his achievements to him.
“It was very hard, but I’m taking it step by step, it will get better and better. I think about him all the time. I want to shine for my brother and dedicate what I do to him, entrusted the centre forward. “Each time, it’s for him. I signed for OL (Olympique Lyon) in January, after there was the Covid, and I couldn’t see him in Zimbabwe. “I didn’t talk about this transfer that was it. I needed to tell him,” Kadewere told the French daily Progrès yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe international striker said he has no problem with the new role he has been given at the club as he has previously played wide during his time in Sweden.
“It’s football. Before in Sweden, in Djurgården, I played a bit in the middle, and even as a defensive midfielder, in front of the defence….a football player can play anywhere. If the coach puts me on the side or in the axis, it does not matter. I need to help the team. “Working for the team, making assists, scoring, that’s my goal. The position is not the most important. “The most important thing is to win. And afterwards, I like to play on the side,” he said.
Kadewere is expected to be named in the Warriors squad for the back-to-back 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Algeria scheduled for November 12 and 15 in Algiers and Harare respectively.
There were fears that the France-based duo of Kadewere and Marshall Munetsi, who plays for Stade de Reims, would not be allowed to travel back for the upcoming Afcon qualifiers after the European country announced a second lockdown last week.
However, France’s Sports minister Rozana Maracineanu revealed that professional football will continue to be played in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 while professional athletes will be allowed to travel.