By Langton Nyakwenda
The scramble for his signature took another twist late Friday, but that did not stop Tino Kadewere from banging in his 18th goal of the season for French Ligue 2 side, Le Havre.
The 24-year-old striker, who is expected to complete a move to seven-time French Ligue 1 champions Lyon either today or tomorrow, scored the solitary goal as Le Havre won 1-0 away at Niort on Friday night.
Kadewere’s agent in France, Jihed Taniche, has been negotiating with Lyon. All appeared to have been sealed last Friday before the Zimbabwean’s transfer story took another turn.
Yesterday, a close source informed The Sunday Mail Sport of a new twist to the player’s transfer saga. It has emerged that a fresh offer from a new suitor was received late Friday, which forced Kadewere and his handlers to re-strategise.
“The truth is that there is nothing concrete yet. Kadewere’s agent, with the help of the player’s brothers, are still weighing up the options.
“In fact, there has been a fresh offer from a team which I can’t disclose now,” said the source.
As of yesterday, three clubs – Lyon, Celtic and Flamengo – had extended concrete offers for Kadewere, who is now valued in the region of 10 million pounds. Kadewere’s brother, Prosper, is convinced that it is time for Tino to move to a bigger club.
“Most probably by Monday (tomorrow) we will have full details of where he is going. As we speak, Tino’s agent is in meetings. But it is 98 percent done. Tino is moving to another club,” Prosper told The Sunday Mail Sport.
“Tino is now 24, this is the right time for him to move on. He is at his peak and should utilise this opportunity.”
Part of the negotiations with Lyon might involve an option for the French giants to sign Kadewere and then loan him back to Le Havre until the end of the season.
In their books, Lyon have French striker Moussa Dembele, who has scored 10 goals in 18 appearances and is also a target for Chelsea.
Dutch international Memphis Depay, who has revitalised his career in France following a forgettable stint with Manchester United three seasons ago, is also part of Lyon’s strike force.
Former Chelsea and Ajax player Bertrand Traore is also one of the strikers at the French giants who reached the UEFA.
Despite this stampede, Kadewere has refused to be distracted. The former Harare City player scored again for Le Havre to take his tally to 18 goals in 20 appearances.
In the second tier Divisions of Europe’s top five leagues, Kadewere is now joint top scorer with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The 25-year-old Mitrovic earns 120 000 pounds per week at Craven Cottage, and is being chased by Tottenham, who are sweating over Harry Kane’s hamstring injury.
The leading scorer in Spain’s Segunda Division, Christhian Stuani, has scored 16 goals for Girona.
Fabian Klos of Arminia Bielefeld leads the scoring charts in Germany 2 Bundesliga with 13 goals.
Perugia’s Pietro Iemmello is the top scorer in Italy’s Serie B with 15 goals in 19 appearances.
Kadewere’s goal scoring streak has made him one of the most sought after strikers in Europe.
Back home, his childhood suburb of Highfield is abuzz.
His mother Mavis confidently told this publication last Friday afternoon that there is no way her son will stop scoring.
“I am sure Tino will score again tonight (Friday night), there is no doubt,” the 57-year-old said.
“Tino is a soft boy, akapfava mwana wangu iyeye but on the field of play he is a lion. The good thing about him is that he has remained humble, he respects his elders and he helps a lot of people in this neighbourhood.
“Tino, through his Kadewere Foundation, is paying fees for scores of disadvantaged children here in Highfield. Most of the people in this neighbourhood look up to him.
“I wish his late father, Onias, was here to enjoy the fruits of his sweat,” she said.
Kadewere’s father was a youth football stalwart who groomed hundreds of footballers through his Highfield Academy.
He died on January 22, 2015.
“My late husband would take a little Tino to his academy. I remember him telling me that football would take good care of the boy. I am beginning to believe him now,” said Kadewere’s mother.
Sydney Mukarakate (69), a long-time neighbour of the Kadeweres, described Tino as a football mad boy.
“He was always good with the ball. With Tino it was always about football and we had this feeling that he would go far.
“God has fulfilled our wishes. As a community, we are happy with his progress, Tino is helping a lot of people. We all look up to him,” said Mukarakate.
Tino is the last born in a family of five boys – Prosper, Gerald, Prince and Pardon and himself.
His sister-in-law, Prosper’s wife Isabel, said Tino is taking good care of the family.
“My brother in law is so caring. He takes care of everyone in the family. We pray that God keeps him going so that his love touches many.”
Tino’s cousin, Venus, was also full of praise for the former Djugardens striker.
“We are now living pretty because of my brother Tino. For that, I want to thank God.”
However, Tino Kadewere’s story would not be complete without one crucial voice, that of Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe, Kadewere’s coach at the national Under-17 squad in 2012.
“In terms of creativity, Tino was the fulcrum of that Under-17 squad,” the former Dynamos coach said.
“That team was immensely talented. I had the likes of Bret Amidu, Cleopas Kapupurika, Livingstone Genti, Carlos Mavurume and keeper Tatenda Mkuruva but Tino was the brains behind it all.
“We actually had to go to his home in Highfield to persuade his father to let him play for us because at that time he was writing his exams at Prince Edward.
“His talent was undoubted, he was way above the rest. He was like what Shingi Kawondera was in his own Under-17 stream. Actually, those who knew him back then are not surprised that he is now attracting interest across Europe.
“I remember when we went to Mozambique in 2012 with the Under-17, and we were practicing a drill on how to beat an offside, he actually took over the drill and improvised a trick that we ended up using in the match and we scored.
“He also scored a brilliant volley against Congo at Rufaro. From then on, I was convinced he was one for the future. I think after Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat, Tino is the future.
“He is proving it at Le Havre. Unfortunately, he is not getting the same responsibility at the Warriors,” Chigowe said.
Tino’s childhood friend and Herentals defensive midfielder Tinashe Mhuru spoke about Kadewere’s amazing work ethic.
“He doesn’t stop working. When he comes back for holiday, we usually go for training at Takashinga Cricket Club or to the gym for some workouts,” Mhuru revealed.
“Our mothers were friends and we ended up being close. We played together at Highfield Academy when we were still eight-year-olds.
“I left the Academy for CAPS United juniors whilst he left for Dynamos. Back then, we all knew that Tino was the real deal. If he wasn’t in the team we would suffer.”
Whether he finally completes his move to Lyon or he ends up at Celtic in Scotland, it is clear that Tino Kadewere has had a positive impact on this little community called Egypt, which is found in Harare’s second oldest suburb of Highfield. The Sunday Mail