Kadewere's big chance

HARARE - Warriors forward Tino Kadewere says he will not have any added weight on his shoulders as the side’s only foreign-based player for the international friendly away to Ivory Coast.

All eyes will be on the Djurgardens IF striker as Kalisto Pasuwa’s side begin serious preparations for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon next month with a clash against the reigning African champions on Boxing Day.

The Warriors, who trooped into camp yesterday, will be without most of their foreign-based players as they are yet to be released by their clubs still playing league matches in South Africa and across Europe.

Fifa statutes dictate that clubs can only release players only 14 days before the start of an international competition.

Most of the foreign-based players in Pasuwa’s squad will start to join camp from January 1 onwards since the Afcon finals kicks-off on January 14.

However, the 2016 Swedish Allsvenskan season came to an end in November with Kadewere helping Djurgardens to a seventh place finish.

The former Harare City forward is already in the country for his Christmas holidays and will be part of the Warriors side travelling to Abidjan for the date against the Elephants.

“I know I will be the only foreign-based player in the team so I just need to go there and do what I do best,” Kadewere told the Daily News.

“I don’t feel any pressure as the only foreign-based player. I just need to be myself, do what I know best and put everything in God’s hands, I’m sure everything will work out fine.”

The former Prince Edward School pupil, who will be turning 21 on January 5, reckons the 2016 season was a breakthrough year for him as he settled in Sweden and earned his first call-up to the Warriors squad for last month’s friendly international against Tanzania in Harare.  

“Last season was one of the best season’s I had as a footballer in my entire career. The football there is much different from Zimbabwe so I did my best; I had too many assists and scored four goals in the season. I feel like it was a good year for me and I did my best,” he said.

Kadewere will have to fight for a place on the final squad travelling to Gabon against experienced campaigners like Cuthbert Malajila, Nyasha Mushekwi, Knowledge Musona, Evans Rusike, Tendai Ndoro and Matthew Rusike.

Despite such an impressive line up of strikers ahead of him in the pecking order, Kadewere, who horned his skills at his late father Onias’ academy at the iconic Zimbabwe Grounds, is backing himself to make the grade.

“It’s such a great feeling for me to be called up into the provisional squad. I have not been part of the team for a long time but I worked hard to make it into the provisional squad,” he said.

“What’s needed from me now is to keep on working hard and pray to God that I make it into the final 23 that will be going to Gabon.

“As a player, I will always have the confidence that I will make it into the squad. I just need to go there and prove to the coaches that I deserve to be in the team like in the game we have next week against Ivory Coast.”

Although he will be limited to using only locally-based players, Pasuwa feels the game against the Elephants will be a good workout for his side.

“This game will test the boys character-wise to see how they fare playing away from home,” he said.

Warriors squad: Bernard Donovan, Tatenda Mkuruva, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Elisha Muroiwa, Farai Madhanaga, Lawrence Mhlanga, Teenage Hadebe, Tendai Ndlovu, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Liberty Chakoroma, Lewis Kutinyu, Ronald Chitiyo, Marshal Mudehwe, Talent Chawapiwa, Walter Musona, Malvin Gaki, Pritchard Mpelele, Tino Kadewere, Leonard Tsipa.

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