Kadewere features in unique Europe ranking

Zimbabwe international striker Tino Kadewere has emerged in 12th place among the best 25 young and upcoming players in Europe who play for small nations in international football.

This is according to a survey done by popular football website afriquesports.net/Europe.

On the list topped by Borussia Dortmund’s Norwegian hotshot Erling Haaland are six African players, namely Kadewere, Zambians Patrick Daka and Enock Mwepu, Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso), Musa Barrow (Gambia) and Togolese Kevin Denkey.

Burkinabe defender Tapsoba, who plays for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, striker Barrow (Bologna, Italy), Denkey (Nîmes Olympique, France) and Kadewere (Olympique Lyon, France) ply their trades in Europe’s top five leagues.

Daka and Mwepu are in the books of Austrian giants Red Bull Sarlzburg.

Kadewere has been a revelation for the French football giants having netted 10 goals in 29 league appearances following a move from Ligue 2 side Le Havre last year.

Lyon are in the running for a first league title in 13 years as they sit third in the French top-flight competition with 60 points, three behind leaders PSG.

The 25-year-old is one of the brightest football prospects in Europe at the moment born in the “wrong” country Zimbabwe, a small football nation ranked 112 on the Fifa rankings.

“Highly talented players born in the ‘wrong’ country, they try the best they can to make their nations appear on the world football map. Among this batch of players, 25 are destined to bring their countries to levels never before attained. This list is brimming with talent and promise,” the Afrique Sports website described the players on the list.

Despite playing for Zimbabwe, Kadewere set tongues wagging last year when he revealed the dream to take Zimbabwe to the World Cup.

“It’s a huge honour to be able to play for your country and I’ll never tire of seeing my name on the squad lists,” Kadewere told the Fifa website.

“Of course, every national team goes through ups and downs, but I’m convinced that the day will come when we will make the whole country smile.

“We all know that the road leading to the World Cup is long and winding, but that’s the goal that we’ve set ourselves.

“Obviously, we’re going to need to work hard to achieve it, but we’ve got some solid foundations to build on. We’ve got real talent in the team and we’re a well-oiled unit that’s been playing together for a few years now. That’s a definite asset for us.

“The main objective is the World Cup, though. That’s my biggest wish. That and for my family to be proud of me,” he said.

Last week Zimbabwe qualified for a third consecutive Afcon finals appearance after beating Botswana albeit without Kadewere who was not released by his club for the international window.

Daka and Mwepu’s Zambia,  which was in the same group with Zimbabwe, failed to qualify for Afcon, while Burkina Faso and Gambia made it to the premier Africa football competition.

Denkey and his Togolese side missed out on a ticket to the Cameroon continental expedition.

Tapsoba is ranked fourth  on the list while Daka is the second best African prospect in seventh place with Kadewere 12th.

The top five comprises Haarland, Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich and Canada), Martin Odegaard (Arsenal and Norway) Tapsoba and Marash Kumbulla, (Hellas Verona and Albania) respectively.

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