Zimbabwe international striker Tino Kadewere (pictured, in yellow jersey) revealed that the desire to play more football as well as to keep his young family in France influenced his recent decision to join French top flight league side FC Nantes on a six month loan deal early this month after falling out of favour at another Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon.
The deal involves an option for Nantes to buy the player if he manages to impress and also the team survives relegation.
Kadewere has already had a dream start to life at Nantes after netting a brace on debut in a 4 – 1 French Cup away at second tier side Pau a fortnight ago.
The 28-year-old forward was officially presented to the media on Tuesday this week where he spoke about his decision to join Nantes.
“I wanted to play football again. It's a very interesting club. I've also known the coach for several years and I know he does good things. I spoke with Lebogang Phiri who knows him well. He gave me good advice. I also knew Kader (Bamba) and Marcus (Coco) before coming. We spoke before. FC Nantes remains a good club that does good things. I needed that, to be at a club where I would have playing time,” Kadewere told journalists on Tuesday.
“It was important for me and my family (to remain in France). I have two children who speak French and I didn't want to change during the year to disrupt them,” he added.
Last Sunday, Kadewere made his league debut for Nantes in a home defeat against Clermont Foot and it was a fourth consecutive loss for the club which currently sits in 13th place with 18 points from 18 matches, four above the relegation zone.
The Zimbabwean made a 12 million Euros switch to Lyon from Le Havre in Ligue 2 four years ago and had a good first season at the club before falling down the packing order.
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Kadewere made just 18 appearances for Lyon since February 2022 and failed to make a single goal contribution during the period and after spending last season on loan in Spain, the Les Gones were desperate to offload him in this window.
He spoke about his difficulties at Lyon and what Nantes need to do to change its fortunes in the league race.
"This year I played a little bit but not as much as I wanted. I wanted to join a club with a lot of playing time. I am a striker and I really need to be on the pitch. I know, it can be difficult and it won't happen all the time.
“In Lyon, it was a difficult time for me and I wanted to change my mindset to find a new place for myself. I'm a boy who likes to work. That's what I'm here for and to help the team. As soon as I arrived, I felt good. The other teammates help me every day and really, I'm very happy to be here.
“I didn't see a problem (in the team). It's been four matches since Nantes won in Ligue 1. Against Clermont, we had a very good match. We were good, creating chances. I think that all we're missing are little things to finish matches, be strong in the head and show more lucidity. If we continue like this, it will pay off. But we're working hard to achieve it,” he said.
Nantes coach Jocelyn Gourvennec also had his say about his pursuit for Kadewere and was full of praise for the Zimbabwean.
“He is a player that I have known for a long time and whose development I have followed. As with Bénie, we knew that there was perhaps a possibility of being released by his club. We had very good information on the personality, on the state of mind, on the man. We had only good feedback on his professionalism and his investment.
“Today, he is very well integrated in France, and speaks French very well. When we spoke after the Lyon match, at the start of the break, the flow went well. It had to be done fairly quickly. The leaders of the two clubs did what was necessary.
“Tino is a profile that corresponded to what we wanted. He is a sharp player, capable of putting in a lot of effort, versatile, who can play further in front, more on the side, alone or in pairs in front, at right or left. He's a real team player. He always helps the team.
“He is also very generous and that also says a lot about his character and personality. I spoke about this not long ago but I think that he is certainly not recognized for his true value and that he still has a lot to give. Yes, he's a really good football player,” Gourvennec said.
Nantes are likely going to pay a small fee for Kadewere whose value has slumped to just about 2.5 million Euros according to Transfermarkt, should they want him to stay beyond the summer.
Nantes hosts Ligue 2 side Stade Laval in the French Cup tomorrow and Kadewere will be hoping to help his new club to progress to the next stage of the competition.