Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
TINO KADEWERE’S red-hot streak, in a dream start to the 2019-2020 French Ligue 1 season, shows no signs of slowing down with the lanky forward scoring a brace at the weekend to take his tally to six goals in four starts.
The 23-year-old Zimbabwe international striker has been destroying defences in the early part of the season as he leads the Le Havre quest for a place in the French top-flight.
He is now the early leading scorer in French Ligue 1 with six goals, two more than the pair of veteran French striker Gaetan Courtet of Ajaccio and Austrian forward Adrian Grbic of Clermont.
Kadewere has scored in every league game he has featured in – opening his campaign with a double in the 2-2 away draw against Ajaccio after scoring twice in four minutes between the 72nd and 76th minute.
His first was a penalty that was coolly converted.
Then, in Le Havre’s first home game of the season, Kadewere was again the savior with a goal in the 59th minute as the match ended in a 1-1 draw against Niort.
A 2-1 win followed, in the third match against Troyes, with the Zimbabwean once again scoring for his French side to make it four goals in three matches.
Then, at the weekend, Le Havre went to Lens and Kadewere scored twice in the second half in an impressive 3-1 win that took his side into a place among the early leaders for a slot in Ligue 1 at the end of the season.
Le Havre are now in third place on the standings with eight points from their first four matches and trail leaders Clermont and Lorient who have 10 points apiece.
He has missed one game, a Coupe de La Ligue battle against Clermont away from home, which ended in a 1-1 draw after extra-time before the hosts won the penalty shootout 4-3.
Kadewere was serving a suspension ahead of that match. French coach Paul Le Guen, who had a stint coaching in Africa when he took charge of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, has handed Kadewere the responsibility to provide the bulk of the goals for Le Havre and the striker has, so far, responded very well.
Le Guen is familiar with the French league, having starred as a player for Paris St-Germain and his national team, and then going to coach Rangers in Scotland, Lyon and PSG.
His best spell came during his time at Lyon when he led them to three straight French league titles.
Le Havre has been the breeding ground for a number of stars who have been involved in transfer deals with more than US$300 million in the past few years.
This is the club that Paul Pogba, the France and Manchester United midfielder, first joined and they laid the foundation for his progress that also saw him playing for Italian powerhouse Juventus.
Other stars who have come through the Le Havre system include goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, Pascal Chimbonda, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Benjamin Mendy, Lassana Diarra, Riyad Mahrez and Dmitri Payet.
Kadewere’s advisers believe Kadewere could also have such an opportunity to grow and attract bigger suitors in the future.
Last year, the website givemesport.com even published a Le Havre XI who could probably have turned the French club into one of the heavyweights had they kept their stars at their club.
“When it comes to so-called ‘selling’ clubs in Europe, a few names particularly spring to mind,’’ Glen Durrant, a senior writer at givemesport.com noted.
“In the Premier League, for example, Southampton are renowned for nurturing top talent and then cashing in on their youngsters for a tidy sum.
“Indeed, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana all learned their craft at St. Mary’s Stadium before moves to Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool respectively.
‘‘Then you have the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Ajax and Atletico Madrid, who have all lost future superstars down the years.
‘‘Atletico have a particular reputation when it comes to producing top talent, having developed and later sold Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres and Diego Costa. In terms of France, Le Havre have sold some pretty big names down the years.’’
They next face Grenoble at home this Friday.