FT Hidden Gem Series: Who is Tinotenda Kadewere?
More often than not, people focus on the players that are already known in the most famous leagues in Europe. Not many of us take time to appreciate a rare talent that continues to escape the radar. Look at Jamie Vardy for instance, he shined in England at the age of 28, but who knew about him before then? In this piece, we look at a certain talent from the country of Zimbabwe before he blows up and becomes one of your favorite African players in no time. Here’s what Tinotenda Kadewere is about.
Tino Kadewere was born on the 5th of January in 1996. He started his career at Harare City in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League at the age of 18 where he scored 7 goals just halfway into his debut campaign. In 2014, he left Harare City for Djugardens on a loan deal with an obligation to buy him on a 4-year-long deal. It is at the Swedish club that he started to grow not only in terms of his technical abilities but also his physique. Two years down the line, the Zimbabwean striker was a few inches taller and staking a claim for a place in the AFCON games played in Gabon. Although he failed to make an appearance in the tournament, he was inspired by his involvement in the dressing room and he sought to use that experience to push for further success at his club, Djugardens. Tinotenda famously scored 4 goals for Djugardens in a single league match which is a record that had not been matched since 1978. This summer, French Ligue 2 side, Le Havre scooped him from the Swedish team for a fee reported to be in the region of $2.5 million.
On his move
Tinotenda was excited to take the next step in his football career by moving to the French side in July 2018. Who wouldn’t be? This is the country where players like Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, George Weah, Didier Drogba etc. made a name for themselves. This league also worked as a stepping stone for them when they eventually made their big moves to clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan and Chelsea. This should be very encouraging to the young player who is hungry for success. He said, “It’s good news for me as a footballer to make another step, but it’s also bad news because I don’t know how I will live in France without all these Djurgardens people.” He was obviously emotional about leaving the club that showed faith in him when he was just a teenager and gave him the chance to play European football.
On his attributes
Tino Kadewere’s favorite position is centre forward. He is an Aubameyang-type of a striker who works best on the shoulders of the defense and can use his lethal pace to beat his markers before scoring goals. It is no surprise that he had already scored 8 goals in 12 matches this season with his pace a menace for defenders in the Swedish First Division. His physique has been growing by the years and he no longer looks like someone who could be budged off the ball like many strikers of his age.
Just like many talented players, he is also capable of playing in a number of positions on the pitch. His pace and trickery also warrants him a place on either flanks because Kadewere is confident that he can beat any defender as long as he has the ball in his feet. These attributes are the reasons why he was deployed on the flanks during his High School years. Obviously, he is no Jay Jay Okocha with the ball yet but the sky is the limit for the 22-year-old Zimbabwean. It is easy to see how this type of player can fit in the squads of the big teams around Europe. Real Madrid have one in Lucas Vazquez who comes off the bench as an impact player. Even Arsenal have that in Alex Iwobi who offers something different from the flanks. Maybe Tino could be that for a team like Chelsea in England or Atletico Madrid in Spain.
On his Injury
If you did not know, Tino Kadewere picked up an injury which was later revealed to be internal ligament damage in his left knee. He had this to say about his injury, “It is obviously boring but it is also part of the football at the same time. Now, the only thing that matters to me is to fix this and come back even stronger.” This injury did not scare off interest from Le Havre who still invested in his services despite the fact that the player was facing 8-10 weeks on the sidelines. It is quite rare to find in football that a club pays so much money for a young player let alone someone who is injured. However, they are confident in his ability and potential to become a great player for the club and rightly so. Tino is a player on the rise.
The 22-year old guided his old club, FC Djugardens to the 2017/18 Svenska Cupen on the 10th of May, 2018. He scored four of the 14 goals by the club in the tournament. This trophy was the first title for the club since 2013.
Kadewere won the COSAFA Cup (a tournament organized by the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) with his nation on the 9th of June 2018 just a month after lifting a trophy with his club. The young forward scored a brace in the final against Zambia and provided one in a 4-2 victory for the Warriors of Zimbabwe.