Robson Sharuko, Harare Bureau
THERE are fears Teenage Hadebe could, at worst, have his contract terminated with his club Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor set to take a hardline stance should he fail to travel from Zimbabwe today.
It’s the grim reality that now faces the 24-year-old Zimbabwe international, just four years after arriving in Turkey, as he remains holed up in Bulawayo waiting for a new passport to enable him to travel back to his base.
Today marks exactly 17 days since Hadebe left his base in eastern Turkey on national duty for the 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Botswana (in Harare) and Zambia (in Lusaka) in which he played the full 180 minutes and helped his team pick four out of a possible six points.
It also marks exactly a week since the day all the foreign-based players, including the Zambians who featured in that Nations Cup qualifier, flew out of Lusaka to their bases.
Our Harare Bureau has calculated that Hadebe’s foreign-based teammates covered about 41 542km flying back to their bases in Europe and South Africa last Wednesday, a day after defeating the Zambians, while the defender remained stranded in Bulawayo.
The Zambian foreign-based players covered about 37 247km flying back to their various bases in Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo while Hadebe, whose superb partnership with Alec Mudimu in central defence helped the Warriors concede just once in those two games, remains stranded in the City of Kings.
Zifa had booked Hadebe to fly out of Bulawayo this afternoon at 12.50 hours to Johannesburg where he was scheduled to catch a Turkish airlines flight at 19.15 hours for the trip to Instabul.
From there, he was meant to take a short flight to Malatya, where his club is based, and there was a possibility he could even be fielded in Friday’s league match.
He missed the high-profile tie against giants Fenerbahce on Sunday which ended goalless.
Hadebe’s team manager, Gibson Mahachi, revealed yesterday the matter had now dragged into levels where it could have serious repercussions on the career of the Warriors’ star.
“I can confirm to you that his club are now very, very unhappy with what is happening to Teenage and it’s now being treated as a serious case,’’ said Mahachi.
“When they wanted Teenage, they told us not to worry about the visa applications because they would handle that and the process was very quick and now they can’t understand how such a high-profile sportsman, who came here to represent his country, could be facing the challenges he is dealing with now.
“Teenage is new at the club and you don’t want the wrong impression to be created that he is deliberately delaying his return because he wants to have some fun back home because footballers have a tendency of doing that when they get a chance to go for international duty.
“What we are missing is the bigger picture, which is that this whole thing creates a wrong impression of Zimbabwean footballers and we might find ourselves struggling to get more players into Europe because, in this day and age, information travels very quickly.
“Teenage is a very key player for his team and they simply can’t afford to miss him for two matches.’’
Our Harare Bureau revealed yesterday that Yeni Malatyaspor will now invoke their disciplinary code, leading to the possible suspension of Zimbabwe international defender, Teenage Hadebe, if he fails to travel from Bulawayo to his base in Malatya today.
Last night, this newspaper was advised that the situation was now serious there was even a possibility, if the matter is not resolved soon and Hadebe gets his passport today, his contract could be terminated.
Hadebe had been using a passport whose pages, where immigration authorities stamp the entry and exit stamps every time he travels, have run out.
He was almost barred entry into Lusaka last week.
The Warriors’ team management have been trying, without success, to have Hadebe’s case treated as an emergency for the sake of his career, which now could be thrown into jeopardy should he fail to travel, as scheduled, today.
“The club is going to take big action against him,” a message from one of those who have been in direct contact with the Turkish club, over the saga, seen by our sister paper, The Herald yesterday, read.
“It’s not my position, I’m worried about the boy’s future and the club is going to take big action against him, it’s going to affect him big (time), the club doesn’t see it like that (that it’s not the player’s fault). He hasn’t reported for duty (and) if he doesn’t travel tomorrow (today), the club is going to take stern action against him.’’
Sources said the Turkish officials were confident the passport issue would be sorted very quickly because of Hadebe’s status as one of the country’s few football stars plying their trade in Europe and doing very well for the Warriors.
“The officials at Yeni Malatyaspor were so certain that Teenage would get his new passport in a day or so and, by their calculation, he would fly out of Zimbabwe last Thursday and be in Turkey, in the worst case scenario, by Friday,’’ sources said.