Tino etches name in French folklore
By Langton Nyakwenda
”LE CLASSIQUE, between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain, is the most famous match in French football but the Rhone derby between St Etienne and Lyon is by far the fiercest,” wrote Adam White and Eric Devin for The Guardian on November 6, 2017.
That was after violence erupted during Lyon’s 5-0 drubbing of St Etienne in an ill-fated contest which was concluded in an empty stadium.LE CLASSIQUE, between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain, is the most famous match in French football but the Rhone derby between St Etienne and Lyon is by far the fiercest,” wrote Adam White and Eric Devin for The Guardian on November 6, 2017.
After completing his brace, Lyon’s Nabil Fekir celebrated by taking off his shirt and displaying it to rival fans.
Incensed, St Etienne fans invaded the pitch and the match had to be stopped for 20 minutes as anti-riot police removed the hooligans from the pitch.
The last five minutes were played in a virtually empty stadium.
So fierce is the rivalry between the two clubs that only 13 players have moved directly from Lyon to St Etienne, or vice-versa, since 1951 when the first derby was played.
Known as Derby Rhone-Alpes, or simply Le Derby, the rivalry between Lyon and St Etienne is steeped in centuries of bad blood between the two cities, separated by just 50km.
According to www.90min.com, the Lyon faithful see themselves as sophisticated, cultured, and middle class, while St Etienne fans are more associated with the working class, industry, and social struggle.
The derby has its traditional heroes, among them the legendary former Lyon striker Fleury Di Nallo, who starred for Les Gones in the 1960s and 1970s, and is the joint top scorer in the Derby Rhone with 14 goals.
Herve Revelli, now 74, also scored 14 goals for St Etienne in the Derby Rhone.
Angel Rambert scored a hat-trick for Lyon in a 4-5 loss to St Etienne in 1963, the highest-scoring match in the derby to date.
Brazilian Juninho, who is now the club’s sporting director, bagged a memorable brace in a dramatic 3-2 comeback win in 2004.
While it took the legendary Di Nallo almost two decades to score 14 goals in the famous derby, it has taken Zimbabwean star striker Tino Kadewere just two derby clashes to reach four.
Kadewere etched his name in French football folklore on Sunday, when he bagged a brace in Lyon’s 5-0 thrashing of their fiercest rival.
He could probably be the first Lyon player to score back-to-back braces against St Etienne, having achieved the same feat when Le Gones beat Etienne 2-1 in the reverse fixture on November 8, 2020.
In that match, Kadewere became the first Lyon player to come off the bench and score a brace in the derby.
The hashtag #FambaTino has not only become popular with local football enthusiasts, but has also caught up with Kadewere’s Lyon teammates, who are now reportedly always shouting “Famba Tino” at training whenever the Zimbabwean is in action.
“It is actually an honour to achieve all this,” Kadewere told The Sunday Mail Sport.
“Coming out of that derby with three points makes it more interesting. But, I must say, I am thrilled with scoring four goals in two derbies; it is a blessing from God.”
Sunday’s brace came after the Zimbabwean striker had gone through a barren spell, having last scored in Lyon’s 3-0 victory against Nantes on December 23, 2020.
“I am just happy to be able to score goals and it does not stress me or put me under pressure if it does not happen all the time.
“What is important is that I keep working hard and helping the team always.”
Kadewere made his 21st league appearance in Lyon’s 2-1 win against Bordeaux on Friday night. That victory took Lyon to the top of French Ligue 1 with 46 points, one ahead of Paris Saint-Germain who play Lorient today.
The historic brace against St Etienne took Kadewere’s season tally to nine goals, two behind Memphis Depay, Lyon’s leading scorer with 11 league goals.
PSG’s French international Kylian Mbappe leads the scoring charts with 14 goals.
Lyon’s front three of Kadewere, Depay and, Karl Toko Ekambi Ekambi has scored 30 league goals, one of the highest tallies in the top European leagues.
Kadewere was singled out for rare praise by Real Madrid and former Lyon striker Karim Benzema on Twitter, a few hours before Lyon’s clash against St Etienne.
The former Harare City player was as mesmerised as he was buoyed by the praise.
“It was a pleasure to receive such a message from a player like Benzema, considering he is one of the best strikers in the world and one who also played for Lyon.
“I could not believe it at first but to be honest it is so amazing and it even boosts my confidence,” says the 25-year-old striker.
He also revealed how some of his teammates were learning a few Shona words, but more specifically the #FambaTino, loosely translated “Go Tino!”
“During training or when we are playing games, most of my teammates will be shouting ‘Famba Tino’ if I do any action or trick. Now, all of my teammates know what it means and they can’t just stop saying it.”
Back home, Kadewere has cultivated a strong following, thanks to his philanthropic work through the Kadewere Foundation, which is headed by his brother Prosper.
“Our programmes, like any organisation, were greatly affected by the second wave of Covid-19. In the short to medium term we are looking at having interventions pertaining to school fees obligations that we already have,” said Prosper.
“We are also looking at social interventions to problems brought about by the second wave of Covid-19, with particular focus on child-headed families and the aged in our communities.
“We are also looking at setting the Kadewere Foundation as a sound business unit with interests in various sectors of the economy,” he added.
In the city of Lyon in particular, Tino is making a name for himself and is now poised to follow in the footsteps of Benzema, Alexandre Lacazette, Nabil Fekir, Florent Malouda, and Frederic Kanoute — some of the forwards exported by Lyon since the new millennium.
Kanoute joined West Ham in 2000, Malouda moved to Chelsea in 2007, while Benzema joined Real Madrid in 2009.
Arsenal scooped Lacazette in 2017, while Fekir moved to La Liga side Real Betis in 2019.
Former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, ex-Chelsea midfield enforcer Michael Essien, Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich) and the Tottenham Hotspur duo of keeper Hugo Lloris, and Tanguy Ndombele are some of the notable Lyon exports. The Sunday Mail