By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors defender Teenage Hadebe, appears destined for greatness after he was named in the Turkish Super League’s Team of the Season.
The honour comes at a time his management team have been dealing with growing interest from a number of suitors.
The towering defender, who had an impressive debut season in Europe with Yeni Malatyaspor, yesterday reacted with excitement on his Twitter account after he made the season’s best 11.
His inclusion was even more impressive when one considers how his team terribly lost their way, in the second half of the season, and found themselves among the bottom three clubs on the table.
Yeni Malatyaspor would have been relegated but the leadership of the league deferred relegation after concluding the Covid-19 break ended up with other clubs at a disadvantage.
Hadebe is wanted by some of the top teams in Turkey. He has also attracted interests from clubs in the French Ligue 1.
His manager, Gibson Mahachi, yesterday told The Herald Hadebe’s debut season in Turkey was an eye-opener for the 24-year-old, who dreams of playing in highly competitive European leagues like the English Premiership.
Mahachi believes the fact that his client was selected in the Team of the Week, more than four times, and his subsequent nomination for the Team of the Season was a reflection of the hard work he put into his career.
Hadebe was, ironically, considered surplus to requirements at Kaizer Chiefs, just before his move to Europe to play in a tougher league than Super Diski.
Usually, foreign players struggle to settle, when they move overseas for the first time.
Already, Bafana Bafana’s Siphiwe Tshabalala has moved back to South Africa after a short flirtation in the Turkish Super League.
“Playing in your debut season, anywhere in the world, moreso in Europe where the standards are high, is not easy,’’ said Mahachi.
“I think Teenage did well and the statistics are there to back up that.
“You remember, he was in the Team of the Week, I think five or so times, which shows he performed well.
“I think it all has to do with the hard work he has been putting in, the discipline, commitment and the focus he has demonstrated in this journey.
“It is always not easy for any player but, with the kind of attitude he has shown, I think he can go far with his career.’’
Hadebe, one of the outstanding performers for Yeni Malatyaspor during the just-ended 2019/2020 campaign, found himself in the Team of the Season alongside veteran former Liverpool star, Martin Skertl, as the two best centrebacks.
Skertl starred for Istanbul Basaksehir on their way to winning their first Turkish championship. Congolese fullback, Fabrice N’Sakala, and Brazilian, Junior Caicara, are the other defenders in the Team of the Season.
The final XI that has four players, from champions Istanbul Basaksehir, and three from runners’ up Trabzonspor.
Hadebe joined Malatyaspor in July last year.
He is the only player from the club to make the cut.
Overall, Malatyaspor had a disappointing season as they finished among the bottom three. Mahachi confirmed there have been interest for the defender from other clubs in Europe.
Hadebe, however, is still contracted to Malatyaspor until May 2022.
Turkish giants Besiktas and Trabzonspor are understood to be monitoring the defender’s progress.
“When you play in your debut season, and attract interest from top clubs in your league and in other parts of Europe, it means you are doing well,’’ said Mahachi.
“There have been enquiries from top-flight clubs in Turkey, and one or two from France but, at the moment, Teenage is still contracted to Yeni Malatyaspor.
“His move from the club will depend on the offers that the club gets and whether they accept or not.
“The good thing is that he is still playing top-flight football.
“There were fears his club had been relegated but the authorities have made a pronouncement to increase the teams and he will be very much involved with top-flight football in the coming season.
“And this, being his second season of playing top-flight football in Turkey, obviously, we expect that he would have adjusted to the environment and can only get better as a player.” The Herald