Tino desperate to play for Warriors. . . even as hopes fade for France-based forward WAITING FOR THE RAIN . . . Tino Kadewere will be hunting for his first goal in Europe as Olympique Lyon prepare for the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final tie against West Ham at London Stadium tonight.

Tadious Manyepo

Sports Reporter

FRANCE-BASED Warriors forward, Tino Kadewere, is desperately eager to join his teammates and feature in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.

However, the hopes for his appearance, appear to be fading.

There have always been doubt, over the availability of the Lyon striker, and his France-based colleague, Marshall Munetsi, who plays for Stade Reims, due to tough Covid-19 protocol, in that country.

However, Zimbabwe’s bid to have the duo got a significant boost, at the weekend, when French authorities, relaxed those tough conditions, and allowed African players to travel to their bases, for this week’s qualifiers.

This followed the intervention of FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, after some African countries, led by Senegal, accused the French clubs of discrimination.

But, the French sides came up with some strict conditions, demanding the players should use private, and not passenger jets, to minimise their chances of coming into contact with the Covid-19 virus.

This has now forced the African national associations to arrange special charter flights, for their players, to enable them to play in the final Nations Cup qualifiers.

ZIFA boss, Felton Kamambo, indicated on Sunday they had alerted Government, of the arrangements, to try and find ways of the Warriors duo being put on a plane, which was being arranged for Madagascar and Mozambican players.

The two players remained part of the 23-man squad, announced by coach Zdravko Logarusic, yesterday even though the chances of them, flying home for the two matches, were fading by late last night.

Kadewere’s brother, Prosper, yesterday told The Herald the striker was still hopeful an arrangement will be made for him to arrive in Botswana, ahead of the match on Thursday, in Francistown.

“He is still committed to come for the qualifiers. I am in constant touch with him (Tino) and just today (yesterday), he told me that he had packed his luggage ready to come,” said Prosper.

“He is very much keen and the fact is he is just waiting to hear the way forward from the authorities here.”

Kadewere would also be desperate, for a change of environment, to try and recharge his batteries, after Lyon were handed a lesson by champions Paris Saint Germain, in a French Ligue 1 match, on Sunday night.

The rampant Parisians, led by superstar Kylian Mbappe, who became the youngest player to score 100 goals in Ligue 1, powered to a 4-2 win, to shoot to the top of the table.

PSG have 63 points, from 30 games, the same as second-placed Lille, while Lyon are in third place, with 60 points.

But, Monaco have been charging, up the table, and are now just a point behind Lyon.

Mbappe, the 22-year-old French international striker, scored twice while Angel Di Maria and Danilo Pereira were also on target for the champions.

Kadewere started the match, in an attacking combination with featured Dutchman, Memphis Depay, but they both failed to make an impact, and were pulled out just after the interval.

Algerian striker, Islam Slimani, who was introduced from the bench, made an impact, and scored late in the game with the other goal coming from Maxwell Cornet.

“We lacked a level of physical effort, and that’s not enough against a team like this, we weren’t good enough in all facets of our play,’’ said Lyon coach, Rudi Garcia. 

“At 4-1 then 4-2, we had, maybe, hoped to earn a point, but based on the first hour of play we did not deserve it. We are going to analyse all of this, we had to be at 100% and we weren’t. 

‘’The substitutes were important and allowed us to play a final half hour worthy of what we wanted to do. What matters now is hoping for our internationals to return in shape and then getting ready to win at Lens, who are a good team. 

“We will remain ready to fight and motivated because nothing has been decided.”

Slimani, who could be key for the Warriors, in a different way if he can score for Algeria against Zambia and Botswana, said they paid a price for a poor start.

We had a bad start to the match, we tried things that didn’t work. Now we have to think about the next matches. 

“In the last 30 minutes we managed to score two goals, now it’s the next match that counts. 

“We had to play our game and try to put them under pressure. We still have every chance to succeed; we will try to win all our matches to try to get something out of the season.”

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