Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
AS Tino Kadewere’s career explodes, South Africa-based Zimbabwean scout, Eric Bafana, can only reflect on the chain of events which eventually saw the highly-rated forward landing in Europe.
Bafana was asked to look for a striker in Zimbabwe, by the academy Diambars, who could join Swedish side, Djurgardens.
That was five years ago.
One of Diambars Academy players, Elias Monene, had been injured, 20 minutes into his trial stint with Djurgardens, and the Swedish club wanted a replacement.
Kadewere didn’t feature in that narrative, he had been rejected by Dynamos and ended up joining Harare City.
But, a 20-minute show, in a match against FC Platinum, was enough to Bafana there was something special about the lanky forward he was watching.
“I was the Diambars Academy head coach and, to be honest, we didn’t have someone as good as Monene (Elias) in our team,’’ he said.
“So, I convinced my bosses, including Pierre Mathiue, to let me look at Zimbabwean players.
“Initially, they refused but then Djurgardens wanted a replacement as soon as possible. So the bosses gave me a list of players to look at, including Walter (Musona) and Wisdom (Mutasa).
“Kadewere (Tino) was not part of that list. My mission took me to Rufaro where FC Platinum played against Harare City.”
Kadewere was introduced with about 20 minutes still on the clock.
“While I had been impressed by both Mutasa and Musona, I was blown away by the technical abilities of the substitute (Kadewere),’’ he said.
“The boy had everything, I mean in terms of skill and technique. His strength was undoubted and his confidence was so encouraging.”
But, Bafana kept on telling himself the player he was supposed to pick should be on the list he had been given by his bosses.
When he mentioned Kadewere, his bosses refused to sanction such a deal.
“They wanted a player from their prescribed list. I had to explain a lot to them, that’s how they accepted to travel to Zimbabwe to have a look at him on their own.”
“Kadewere was a bench warmer at Harare City and a substitute as well in the Young Warriors squad.
“My bosses were apparently not happy and they kept on asking whether he was really that good given he wasn’t a starter for both club and country.”
But, just three days after Mathieu landed in Harare, Kadewere would silence him and his lieutenants who had already agreed to settle for Mutasa (Wisdom).
“Just a week after I had watched Kadewere in action against FC Platinum, my bosses said they would help me in the assessment in the Young Warriors’ match against Swaziland.
“We filmed that match and as usual, Kadewere started on the bench while Mutasa and Musona were in the first 11.
“Tino (Kadewere) then showed his class when he was introduced about 20 minutes before time much to the amazement of my bosses.
‘’From then, we sent the video to Djurgardens and they invited Kadewere for trials.”
Kadewere’s agent, Gibson Mahachi, confirmed Bafana and his bosses at Diambars Academy helped the player join the Swedish side.
“I took the boy (Kadewere) from Highfield Academy and tried to have him join Dynamos because he was very good,’’ said Mahachi.
‘’Unfortunately, Dynamos refused to sign him saying he wasn’t good.
“I then took him to Harare City where he was signed on loan by Taurai (Mangwiro). Before long, I received a call from Bafana (Eric) and his crew and Kadewere was actually accompanied by Mathieu to Sweden.
‘’That’s what happened.’’
Now, Kadewere is at French giants Olympique Lyon.