‘Prince’s death held back Tino’s progress’ . . . Lyon coach backs Kadewere to find scoring touch

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LYON coach Rudi Garcia says Prince Kadewere’s tragic death last month had a negative impact on his brother Tino’s assimilation into the Ligue 1 side.

Prince, who was 40, passed away in Harare after a short illness and this forced Tino to abandon pre-season preparations with the French giants as he travelled home to be with his family.
The 24-year-old striker was forced to miss a considerable amount of pre-season training as he could not return to Lyon in time due to travel restrictions brought about by coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Warriors forward only managed to travel to France a day before Lyon began their 2020-21 season with a 4-1 win over Dijon at the end of last month.
Kadewere finally made his official Lyon debut in the second game of the season when he came on as a 73rd minute replacement for Memphis Depay in their goalless draw against Bordeaux.
The Zimbabwean was given his first start for the club in the 2-1 defeat to Montpellier before he was pulled out in the 55th minute, with Depay taking his place.
Kadewere was back on the bench for the following game which finished goalless against Nimes before coming on in the 86th minute for Rayan Cherki.
At the weekend, Kadewere once again started on the bench and was brought in with 14 minutes to go as he replaced Cherki in the 1-1 draw against Lorient.
It is safe to say that this has been a slow start to life for Kadewere in Ligue 1 and this is in stark contrast to how he was tearing up defences in Ligue 2 last year with Le Harve.
The former Djurgardens and Harare City forward scored an astonishing 20 goals in 24 games for Le Havre before the season was abruptly ended by Covid-19.
This is the reason why Lyon paid €12m for his services after beating off competition from various other top teams across Europe.
Garcia is fully aware that Kadewere has not hit the heights he is expected to scale after such a high-profile transfer.
And with Depay and Moussa Dembele appearing to be on the way out of the Ligue 1 giants with interest from far and wide, the spotlight is firmly on Kadewere.
Garcia understands the tough transition the Zimbabwean is going through following his brother’s death which came at a crucial juncture in his career.
“We have high hopes for Kadewere. His pre-season was interrupted by the tragedy he went through but we are trying to make up for any lost time he may have had because of this situation.
“He has a lot of good will, he’s a team player and very pleasant.
“He has made a good start with us, and his confidence will increase over time.
“We need to continue to improve the relations between the players on the pitch, especially the midfielders and the attackers, and it is precisely in this role that he can be important because he is very altruistic,” Garcia told the Lyon website.
Lyon showed a lot of class and personal touch by the way they reacted to Prince’s death at the time.
The club provided Kadewere with a private jet to travel from Lyon to Paris where he and his family caught the flight to Zimbabwe.
Lyon also provided all the necessary documentation and information to allow Kadewere to be granted special exemption to leave quarantine early upon his arrival in Harare.
At the same time, the seven-time France champions were taking on Manchester City in the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal.
Before kick-off, the Lyon players had warmed up wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Rest in heaven Prince Kadewere”.
The big screen at the match venue also displayed the same message before kick-off.
Kadewere will be hoping to get in the groove in time for the next match this weekend as his side takes on Marseille in one of Ligue 1’s marquee fixtures.
After five games, Kadewere’s side currently sit in 11th place on the log with six points while Marseille are ninth — a further two points ahead.

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