Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
TEENAGE HADEBE is likely to miss his flight back to Turkey tomorrow, with his passport only expected on Thursday, in what could further rile officials of his club Yeni Malatyaspor.
There are genuine fears this could lead to a breakdown in relations between the team and the Warriors centre-back who remains holed up in his hometown of Bulawayo.
The 24-year-old Zimbabwe international has now been away from his Turkish club for 15 days and this has irked his Turkish employers who believe they are getting a raw deal when they are paying the player.
Hadebe missed his team’s high-profile league match against giants Fenerbahce on Sunday, which ended goalless, and saw Yeni Malatyaspor fall five points behind leaders Sivarsspor who have 24 points from 12 matches.
Malatyaspor have 19 points from 12 games while Fenerbahce are now fourth on the table with 21 points from as many league matches.
Today marks exactly a week since Hadebe last featured for the Warriors in their historic 2-1 AFCON qualifier victory over Zambia in Lusaka.
Most of his fellow foreign-based teammates flew straight from Lusaka to their bases but Hadebe was forced to return home to apply for a new passport.
Yeni Malatyaspor okayed that arrangement, because the Turkish club believed that as Hadebe was a high-profile Zimbabwean sportsmen, he was likely to get his passport within a day and then fly back to his base.
“The officials at Yeni Malatyaspor were so certain that Teenage would get his new passport in a day or so and, by their calculation, he would fly out of Zimbabwe last Thursday and be in Turkey, in the worst case scenario, by Friday,’’ sources said.
“The club had actually laid out a special programme for him, when he arrived there, where he would be put through some drills to prepare him for the match on Sunday against Fenerbahce.
“However, they were shocked to learn that, even though Teenage is a sporting ambassador for Zimbabwe, he has to go through the normal process and that means he would not be given any special preference.
“That meant he would miss the game against Fenerbahce and things got worse at the weekend when it emerged Teenage might also miss the next match on Friday and this has made the people at his club very furious.
“You also have to feel for Teenage, too, because he came here to fight for his country only to run into all these challenges which would not have happened had he decided to remain in Turkey and not play for the Warriors in the two AFCON matches.
“There is also the other side, which people are not looking at, his team fielded someone in his place in their match on Sunday and the team didn’t concede a goal and the coach might decide to go again with the player who replaced him and that will require Teenage to start fighting for his place again.
“This is a huge price to pay for coming to represent one’s country.’’
Hadebe spent the whole day last Thursday at the passport offices in Harare trying to secure the travel document he badly requires to go back to Turkey.
Warriors’ team manager, Wellington Mpandare, said they had been advised Hadebe’s new passport is likely to be issued on Thursday.
The challenge, for the Zimbabwe international defender, is that he is booked to fly out tomorrow.
And, even more damning, is that his club have another league match against Genclerbirligi on Friday and, if he doesn’t get a passport either today or tomorrow, before his scheduled flight, he will miss that match again.
On Sunday, it emerged Hadebe’s future at Yeni Malatyaspor could be thrown into doubt amid revelations the Turkish football club were furious he hasn’t reported back for duty.
The former Kaizer Chiefs centre-back was almost barred from entering Zambia last week after immigration authorities in that country raised concerns over the state of his passport.
Only the intervention of the Warriors team management, who pleaded on his behalf, and the good relations that exist between Zimbabwe and Zambia, saw him being allowed to enter that country.
On his return home, Hadebe applied for a new passport and was expecting the travel document could be issued today so that he flies back to his Turkish base.
“We have received messages that his employers are very unhappy with the situation and it’s something that you don’t want to see because relations between an employer and an employee should always be good,” Mpandare said.
“Obviously, the team wants their player back because all the international players who were on duty for their countries, around the world, have already returned to their clubs.
“Remember Teenage is a very key player for his club and they want his services all the time but he can’t fly because the passport is yet to be issued.’’
Messages seen by The Herald from representatives of the Turkish side show the outrage at Yeni Malatyaspor over the Hadebe situation. The Turks are furious that such an international sportsman, who came home to serve his country, cannot be given special preference to get his passport as quickly as possible.
“His club is very upset about the situation,” reads one of the messages.
“Is there no way we can speed it up?
“It’s a sad that the country can’t make an exception for an international player who is flying their flag.