This week we cheer loud for a trailblazing Zimbabwean athlete. A deadly goal-getter blessed with terrific pace and finesse on the ball, our Person of the Week is none other than Zimbabwe international football player Tinotenda Philani Kadewere.
The dreadlocked France-based striker made his long-awaited top-flight bow for his new club on 11 September. Kadewere is now turning out for revived French giants Olympic Lyonnais after he caught the eye last season in Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre’s colors.
Lyon snapped up the Warriors gunslinger towards the business end of last season and he made his anticipated league debut off the bench last Friday against Bordeaux. He followed that up with his first league start five days later against Montpellier.
Unfortunately for Rudi Garcia’s men, the matches ended in a nil-all draw and a 1-2 defeat, respectively but the prolific scorer Kadewere would no doubt have taken some encouragement from his efforts on the pitch following a recent family bereavement that affected him before the start of the current league season.
“I’m disappointed with this match; it was my first start with the team. We were too relaxed in the way we played, we left too many options for Montpellier. There are still a lot of games to be played — nothing is decided. Our goals remain the same after this defeat,” said Kadewere in a post-match interview.
“OL is a great club and we will continue to bring ourselves back into the Champions League. We must not drop our heads, we have a match on Friday (against Nimes) and we will have to rest well to get the three points.”
The 24-year old former Harare City striker impressed his current team follow a barnstorming start to his Le Havre career after being signed from Swedish team Djurgårdens IF.
His debut season at Le Havre saw him bag an impressive 20 goals in just 24 league appearances to set him well on his way to clinching the top scorer’s Golden Boot in the second tier of the French Football League.
Kadewere has shown a penchant for fast starts and his first game for Lyon, a friendly against Swiss club Port Valais ended up with him grabbing four goals in 32 minutes as his squad ran riot in a lopsided match which finished 12-0 in their favor.
His national team record is stellar as well with an impressive goal tally and regular excellent displays for the Warriors whom he turned out for at all junior levels before breaking into the senior team in 2015.
Kadewere has won the COSAFA Cup with the Warriors in 2018 and is an integral part of the current men’s national team set up. He is the second Zimbabwe player plying his trade in French football, along with Warriors midfield lynchpin Marshall Munetsi who plays for Stade de Reims.
Both young players are following the footsteps of former national team captain Benjani Mwaruwari who starred for AJ Auxerre from 2002 to 2006. The future looks bright for the Zimbabwean international striker and despite making his league appearances in front of a small crowd of spectators, the cheers from his homeland will no doubt have reached him as his premier European adventure takes off.