By Eddie Chikamhi
Zimbabwe international football striker Tino Kadewere is not stopping at anything in his journey to stardom in his debut season in the French Ligue 1.
The 24-year-old grabbed the headlines again at the weekend after he was named man-of-the-match for his goal and an assist in Olympique Lyons’ big win at Nice.
The 4-1 win on Saturday propelled Lyon to the top of the table, a point above Lille, who were billed to play third-placed Paris Saint-Germain late last night.
Kadewere made an impact either side of half-time and was directly involved in three of Lyon’s goals.
The Zimbabwean won the penalty that was converted by his captain Memphis Depay for the first goal.
He scored the team’s second when he intercepted a Hicham Boudaoui pass and beat home goalkeeper Walter Benitez with ease just before the half-time break.
Kadewere turned provider in the 63rd minute as he selflessly set up Cameroon striker, Karl Toko-Ekambi, with a squared pass into the box following a sweeping counter-attack.
“Got awarded Man of the Match title last night, great team work as we aim to maintain our position on the summit of the table,” he wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.
The win at Nice followed last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Brest. Lyon has had a strong run in the last four months as they are now unbeaten in 13 successive league games.
This is a feat the club had last achieved in 2010. However, the 2020 class have just equaled that run and they now look forward to finishing the year in style when they host Nantes this Wednesday.
“We are very happy. We needed to win after a tough match against Brest. We wanted to come back with the three points. This kind of match gives us confidence. We worked together.
“There is one match left before the break, we have to stay focused. We played well together, Toko Ekambi, Memphis, and myself everything is going well. It’s good for the whole attacking line to score,” Kadewere told the Olympique Lyon website.
Crucially, Kadewere was able to take his tally to six goals this season. He has enjoyed good company with his Lyon teammates, particularly the forwards, Depay and Toko-Ekambi, with whom he has struck a formidable partnership.
Kadewere, Depay and Cameroonian Toko Ekambi have been impressive this season and are statistically the most dangerous attacking trio in any of Europe’s top five leagues, with a combined tally of 22 goals this campaign.
That’s more than the 20 goals that have been scored by the expensive PSG strikeforce of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Moise Kean.
Kadewere had nothing but positive things to say about his teammates in an interview with the Lyon Sports News at the weekend.
“We understand each other on the field. We have played a lot of very good games but it’s only the beginning of the season.
“We need to work again to finish the championship with a lot of points and get back to the Champions League. I’m happy, I play with very good teammates, in a very good team. We’re going to keep going like this.”
Kadewere arrived at Lyon at the beginning of the season with the reputation of having won the Ligue 2 Golden Boot with his 20 goals from 24 starts.
He feels he has adapted quickly to his new team, courtesy of the help he has received from his teammates.
“I had a very good season last year with Le Havre, but when I arrived here, I found very good teammates who work with me all the time.
“We talk a lot. That explains why I adapted very quickly. If you play with players like my teammates, it’s beautiful. We’ve got a lot of very strong players.
“Everybody wants to play, we have a very good team. It’s good for me, it’s going very well and I’m going to try to keep going like this by working for the team and for me,” he said.
Lyon captain Depay is also excited by the arrival of Kadewere and the decisive role he has played, along with Cameroonian, Toko-Ekambi, as the attacking trio.
“I am happy with the relationship between myself, Toko Ekambi and Kadewere. The substitutes also bring their qualities to the match,” said Depay. The Ligue 1 will take a winter break after the midweek games and then resume first week of January. The Herald