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Zimbabwe: Kadewere Clings On to His Faith

WARRIORS forward Tino Kadewere is cursing injuries which have dogged his season as he continues to fall down the pecking order at his French Ligue 1 football club Olympique Lyon.

The 26-year-old has endured a cold spell at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in his second term in the French top-flight.

He has played in 15 games for Peter Bosz's side, scoring just once and his market value has also fallen significantly in a season he has also "seen red" once.

For someone who was hogging the limelight in his maiden season last year, scoring 10 times in 33 games and even getting short-listed for the prestigious Marc Vivien Foe award, to have crestfallen is worrisome.

But Kadewere is not attributing his dip in form entirely to the second season syndrome as he believes injuries have also played a critical part to the current state of affairs.

And the Zimbabwean striker is clinging to his Presbyterian faith as he remains hopeful things will turn around in the not-so-distant-future.

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His club has not told him to look for an alternative club, leaving him with room to rediscover himself for the meantime.

"Without any doubt, this season has been very hard for me. It is a season I was looking forward to playing my best football given I joined last year. But look, injuries dented all those dreams," he said.

"I was on and off the treatment table. My form has been erratic this term as a result but I continue to put in more work in my game.

"The good thing about all this is the fact that I have been getting a lot of support from my coach and teammates. My family and the fans have also been unwavering in their support. That is one of the top reasons I am keeping on working hard in an otherwise painful season.

"But, above all, I believe God has helped me a lot. I attend my Church, Presbyterian, every now and then. I read the scriptures and from there, I have learnt the value of having faith.

"I just continue to look above, bow my head, pray and seek God's way. I think that has been my secret weapon, especially fighting the nasty injuries I have picked this season.

"I believe I will rediscover my form and score like I used to do. This is what I believe and I am very confident, sooner rather than later, I will be banging in the goals, helping my team achieve their goals.

"I don't really believe in this so-called second-season syndrome whereby players or clubs get jittery and lose form in their second season at any level but my case has more to do with injuries which I thank God have been treated."

Kadewere, the mainstay of Lyon's campaign in their top-four charge last term, is, however, spoilt for choice in the event that he continues to struggle for game-time at the French club with reports suggesting he is a wanted man by some English Premier League clubs as well as those in France.

French sides Rennes and Reims have reportedly registered their interests in the Zimbabwean and should he, by any chance join the latter, Kadewere will play alongside his compatriot Marshall Munetsi.

Two English Premier League clubs, including Burnley, are also rumoured to have been keenly chasing after the Zimbabwean's signature.

But no team has approached Kadewere, at least for now, and he told The Herald he is totally committed to his current employers.

"My contract with Lyon runs until 2024 right. I am their player and I should reiterate that I am 100 percent committed to them.

"The environment at Lyon is second to none. I love the settings, the fans and everyone at the club. My focus and vision revolve around this team.

"I cannot really comment on reports and rumours. They will remain reports. What I know for now is that I am a Lyon player who is committed to the club's cause."

Kadewere's loss of form has not only affected his club football.

He was off-colour during the African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon in January in which Zimbabwe bowed out in the group stages.

In a tournament he was expected to get going, Kadewere, despite coach Norman Mapeza's faith in him, failed to score in three group games as Zimbabwe managed to create a flurry of chances which they couldn't finish off.

Meanwhile, Olympique Lyon outplayed Montpellier 5-2 in Saturday's French Ligue 1 fixture with Karl Toko Ekambi and Moussa Dembele finding the net.

As well as Dembele, Toko Ekambi were in action from start to finish. Whereas, Kadewere (Zimbabwe), Habib Keita (Mali), and Sinaly Diomande (Cote d'Ivoire) were not dressed for action.

Congolese forward Beni Makouana was not in action from Montpellier, while Cameroonian defender Ambroise Oyongo — who was handed a starter's role — made way for Maxime Esteve with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Lyon — who are guests of Olympique Marseille on May 1 — have now climbed to eighth on the log having accrued 52 points from 34 outings while Montpellier dropped to 11th with just 42 points.

Artmotion S.Africa

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