By Eddie Chikamhi
Unwanted Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona and fellow Zimbabwe international football striker Tino Kadewere are set to learn their fate this week in a tale of contrasting fortunes currently playing in Europe.
Both players —who are likely to play key roles when Zimbabwe resume the twin qualifiers for next year’s AFCON finals and the Qatar 2022 World Cup — have long-term contracts with their clubs which run up to 2022.
But what is almost definite is that they are not going to see their contracts through.
One has not played a match for his club the entire season and his club is desperate to sell him.
The other one has featured in almost all the games and his name is ringing loud across Europe with top clubs in England, France, Scotland, Turkey, Qatar and even as far afield as Brazil all reportedly scrambling for his signature during this January transfer window.
It emerged yesterday that English Premiership side Aston Villa, which is home to another Zimbabwean Marvelous Nakamba, have also thrown their name in the hat in the ever-growing list of suitors for Kadewere.
The Football Insider yesterday reported that Villa and other English Premiership sides Newcastle United, Tottenham and Norwich City are eyeing the Le Havre forward whose value has now been pegged at £15 million.
Kadewere has been in terrific form this season and it appears he just cannot stop scoring the goals after banging in his 18th goal in 20 appearances last Friday night in the 1-0 win over Chamois Niortais.
He has also provided four assists, attracting the interests of French Ligue 1 rivals Marseille and Lyon.
Kadewere, who was brought to France by Le Havre for 2.5m euros from Swedish side Djurgardens in July 2018, is spoilt for choice.
Interests for the Highfield-born player have been reported from all over Europe in the last month with links to clubs such as Real Valladolid from Spain, Scotland’s Celtic, Flamengo from Brazil and Turkish giants Galatasaray and Beskitas all monitoring the former Prince Edward High School pupil.
Le Havre have a rich history of producing world-class players having developed the likes of Paul Pogba, Dmitri Payet and Lassana Diarra; and Kadewere is tipped to become the next player to play at the highest level.
Lyon have already made an offer of £12m for Kadewere this month, with Le Havre thought to be holding out for £15 million for the 24-year-old.
Swedish side Djurgardens had plucked him from Harare City for a reported fee of 150 000 euro in 2015 after impressing them on trials.
Legendary Moses “Bambo” Chunga, who gave Kadewere the seal of approval as the next big thing to come out of Zimbabwe a few years back, yesterday said he was not surprised by the interests shown by European clubs in the 24-year-old.
“I do not want to take credit for this but I think you can just call me prophet Chunga,” said Chunga in a light joke.
“Usually, it’s easy to notice talent and to separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. There are some attributes that make up a complete player and it is that profile that you look at and whether the player ticks all the boxes.
“There is something called attitude, then there is co-ordination of the body, speed, mental fortitude and physical conditioning of the player.
“Many times you hear people saying this one or that one will play in Europe but as long as that player doesn’t tick the boxes it remains a pipe-dream.
“So it doesn’t surprise me that Tino is wanted all over Europe.”
If you have the basics right, it’s easy to go places. He has all the basics. Football is a practical game. You might have all the talent and all, but football is strict, there are some simple things that you acquire at every stage that are needed to make it to the top.
“It’s different with someone who wants to go to university, yes you may make it there even if you skipped ECD and some stages in primary school. But in football it’s not so.
“Football is practical, it always catches up with you. That is why some of our “good’’ players didn’t make it,” said Chunga.
A source in France told Football Insider that English Premier League scouts have been watching Kadewere closely this season, with Newcastle, Villa, Tottenham and Norwich City all looking at a potential move for him to bolster their attacks.
It is understood that the English sides’ scouts were deployed in last Friday’s match and they watched Kadewere scoring the winner against Chamois Niortais.
According to Eurosport France, Lyon director of recruitment, Flo Maurice, was also present as the interests in the forward continue to grow.
Le Havre are taking their time and waiting for the right opportunity to sell the forward at a good profit. Newcastle, Norwich and Aston Villa are all looking for additional fire-power to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation while Tottenham are seeking backup for the injured Harry Kane.
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa, who have been linked with Eddie Nketiah, Christian Benteke and Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, are in the market for a new striker this month.
They need to replace Wesley Moraes after the star striker picked up a season-ending knee injury at Burnley on New Year’s Day.
On the other hand, no suitors have been forthcoming for Musona. The Zimbabwe forward has seen his career take a nose-dive despite arriving at Anderlecht with a reputation.
Apparently, Anderlecht are desperate to sell him amid indications that Belgian Pro League rivals KAS Eupen could be interested in the 29-year-old.
KAS Eupen have been hosting Musona on trial for the past few days and they are set to make a pronouncement on the player either today or tomorrow.
Musona featured in a friendly game against Dutch side PSV on Saturday in which KAS Eupen won 2-1. He played 65 minutes and gave the assist for the opening goal after 24 minutes.
KAS Eupen sports director Christoph Henkel said that “in the next two or three days” his side will decide whether the club would offer Musona a contract. The Herald