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Kadewere in first training session with new club Lyon

Zimbabwe international forward, Tino Kadewere, yesterday trained for the first time with his new French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon.

WARRIOR IN THE HOUSE . . . Zimbabwe international forward, Tino Kadewere, trains for the first time with his new French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon at the Groupama OL Training Centre in Lyon yesterday — OL
WARRIOR IN THE HOUSE . . . Zimbabwe international forward, Tino Kadewere, trains for the first time with his new French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon at the Groupama OL Training Centre in Lyon yesterday — OL

The club tweeted a picture of the striker at their training ground.

Kadewere joined Lyon from Ligue 2 side Le Havre after his hot scoring streak attracted the interests of many major teams across Europe.

He will have to battle for his place in the team with a number of established players, including Moussa Dembele, set to remain at the club.

Netherlands international forward Memphis Depay has also returned to training some six months after a serious knee injury.

The 26-year-old, previously at PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a Ligue 1 clash against Stade Rennes on 15 December.

Depay reported on Monday to Lyon for medical tests ahead of a resumption of training later this week.

They are preparing for Uefa’s decision on a re-start of the Champions League, where they are 1-0 ahead in their last 16 tie against Italian champions Juventus following the first leg in Lyon.

Depay’s return is a major boost for the club. He had netted nine goals in 12 Ligue 1 outings and five in as many Champions League appearances this season.

Olympique Lyon have also signed on-loan Cameroon forward Karl Toko Ekambi from Villarreal on a four-year contract, the Ligue 1 club said yesterday.

Lyon exercised an option to buy the player in a deal worth €11.5 million plus add-ons which includes a sell-on clause of 15 percent of any future transfer.

Ekambi, 27, scored twice in eight league matches since joining the club on loan in January.

“Lyon is pleased to announce that it has taken up the purchase option for Ekambi from Villarreal,” the French club said in a statement.

“The Cameroonian international has signed a four-year contract with the Rhone club.”

Ekambi, who has played 30 times for his country, played in Ligue 1 for Angers from 2016 to 2018, winning the Prix Marc-Vivien Foe award for the best African player in the top flight.

Meanwhile, Amiens and Toulouse were given a lifeline yesterday when France’s top administrative court suspended their relegation from the Ligue 1 soccer championship, although it upheld the curtailment of the season amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The LFP ended the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons in April with 10 games left after the government said no professional sport could return before September and Paris St Germain were awarded the league title — their seventh in eight years.

It also meant seventh-placed Olympique Lyonnais, a point off Lille in the Europa League qualifying spot, missed out on European football through the standings, while Amiens and Toulouse, who were adrift at the bottom, were to be relegated.

All three clubs appealed the decision to end the season.

“The judge validates the terms defined by the league, in particular for the classification of the Ligue 1 championship,” the State Council said in a statement yesterday.

“The judge in summary proceedings suspends relegation to Ligue 2 of Amiens and Toulouse,” it added.

Given that Lorient and Lens have been promoted from Ligue 2, the State Council also ordered the LFP to review its championship format for next season. That could ultimately lead to a 22-team league for the 2020-21 campaign.

Annual broadcasting rights for Ligue 1 are now over one billion euros, underscoring the importance for teams to avoid the financial consequences of relegation.

The LFP decision to cut short the season — which also meant runners-up Olympique Marseille and third-placed Rennes qualified for the Champions League — has been criticised, especially as the other main European leagues have resumed or are set to.

Since the April decision, the government has given the green light for French cup final matches to be played before September without fans in attendance, while the 2020-21 season is due to begin on 22 August. Training for teams has also now resumed.’’ —The Herald/SuperSport.

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