Harare – Zimbabwe Warriors defender Teenage Hadebe vividly recalls his mother Selinah Ndlovu’s last words.
She told the soccer star that he would play football in Europe one day. That was in early 2017, and Hadebe donned the colours of Chicken Inn in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League.
His mother was to pass away in May of that year, before seeing her son make the move to South African glamour club Kaizer Chiefs in July 2017.
And then two years later, her words were to echo loudly in Hadebe’s ears as he secured a contract with Turkish Süper Lig side Yeni Malatyaspor.
Hadebe says, “I dedicated this move to my mother who died in 2017. She told me that ‘one day my son, you will play in Europe if you remain humble and put everything in training’. She told me that I will go places and I believe this is the first step… may her soul continue to rest in peace.”
For the two years he has been with Yeni Malatyaspor, Hadebe has been quite the revelation.
He was in the Süper Lig team of the season last year despite his club finishing in the relegation zone.
In fact, the team was only saved from sliding to the second tier after a decision was made to increase the number of teams in the top flight instead of relegating the bottom three because the season had been truncated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hadebe’s team is still facing the threat of relegation but the Zimbabwean on April 17 scored his first goal since arriving in Turkey to ease the pressure. It was the only goal that separated his club from Alanyaspor in that match.
The team had gone for 13 matches without a win, and it has since followed that up with a loss and a win, leaving Malatyaspor 14th on the log with 40 points – just three above the last relegation slot with five matches to go.
Hadebe dedicated the goal against Alanyaspor to his late mother: “Everything I do I dedicate to you mummy. Thank you for the crucial goal.”
Reports indicate teams in England and France have been looking closely at the centre-back, but Hadebe says he is presently only interested in helping his club avoid the chop.