TRENDING new Lyon striker, Tino Kadewere, had a chance to play for local giants Dynamos but failed to make the grade after a trial stint.
Kadewere,18 then, was accompanied by his Prince Edward school teammate, Thomas Chideu, who also wanted to impress through trials.
A break into the biggest Zimbabwean club, Dynamos, remains a fantasy for many young footballers in Zimbabwe.
“After that trial, he was rejected. He was devastated. I personally had to drive to Zimphos to collect him and he was quiet the whole journey. Those that had qualified were asked to remain for lunch. I had to talk to him and leave him home,” Prosper Kadewere, brother and his local manager, told H-Metro.
Six years down the line French giants Olympique Lyonnais have forked out US$16.5 million to land the same player that failed to make the grade at Dynamos.
“The club takes recommendations from the coaches and also consider other aspects. Maybe he was not good enough,” club manager Richard Chihoro says.
Black Rhinos coach Herbert Maruwa, who was Kalisto Pasuwa’s assistant then, gave his opinion.
“The boy was fresh from school, but already, he had shown great potential. I had worked with him at junior level. But there were many factors at play,” said Maruwa.
The player’s manager at that time Gibson Mahachi looks back in shock.
“After the disappointment, I took Tino to Harare City. It was a start, but his rise would be longer. Dynamos was shorter route.”
Harare City secretary general Mathew Marara said: “Look, we gave him a chance. We believed in him, but then Highfield remained with the rights until the player moved to Europe.”
From City, he moved to Sweden team Djugardens for about US$150 000 and then French Ligue 2 side, Le Havre, for about US$2.5 million.
History has a funny way of putting things into perspective.
When the Lyon striker faced rejection at Zimphos, strikers at Dynamos that season included Anesu Gondo, Clive Kawinga, Patrick Khumbula, Farai Mupasiri, Simba Nhivi and Rodreck Mutuma.
Gondo’s was last seen in one of Zimbabwe’s second tie leagues, Khumbula and his Chapungu were recently relegated and now seeking to get back by a technicality while Nhivi has bounced back at DeMbare countless times.
It will be difficult to keep track of the rest of the bunch, but Europe is the least of possible search areas.
“It was unfortunate that during the time when he went for those trials, coach Pasuwa was away with the Warriors. Maybe, if he was around, he would have taken the boy on board,” agent Mahachi added.
Pasuwa would go on to become the first coach to give Tino his first Warriors cap.
It was strange.
Especially, coming from a coach whose club rejected the player at club level.
The Couch presenter More Moyo agreed with Makomborero Mutimukulu, on the ZTN Wednesday football show, that this was the right move.
“I think Lyon for him will help develop more without a lot of pressure that comes with EPL,” More said.
But an appearance at Dynamos, who were then crowned champions in 2014, could have triggered a bigger move for the striker earlier.
And this could have come with possible US$1 million or more from the sell-on percentages in contract clauses, with DeMbare as parent club, earlier than 2020.
“In Europe the sell-on percentage can be between 10 to 15 percent. In the event that the club sells that player again, the parent club benefits. However, it should be noted that in the case of clubs in Africa, when they feel they are not getting enough value for the player, the percentage is more,” said Mahachi.
Coaches that spoke on the issue concluded that pressure on local coaches to produce results have resulted in clubs losing millions, as coaches turn away future stars for experience.
History will be harsh on Zimbabwe’s most successful side, Dynamos. But for the striker, after seven years of his wilderness experience, he is no longer singing the blues.
It is time to replace Chelsea and Manchester United target Moussa Dembele in the Summer.
Prosper, the brother, also gave reasons for Tino’s options. EPL steams Aston Villa and Tottenham were some of the teams linked with the striker.
“We looked at many things. There was the developmental aspect. He needed that first step, staying in France. We also looked at the type of play and the fact that he still is progressing and will eventually make it,” Prosper said.
Mugove Chigada is the Executive Producer of THE COUCH at Zimpapers Television Network.