Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
MACAULEY BONNE almost ended his dreams to play for the Warriors as he endured frustrations over securing a Zimbabwean passport, with England ready to pounce and get his services.
This was revealed yesterday when the striker finally received his Zimbabwean passport, which will enable him to fulfil his dream of becoming a Warrior.
Bolton Wanderers leftback, Adam Chicksen, also secured his passport but the defender will not be available for the opening Group H 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia next week.
Warriors team manager, Wellington Mpandare, who has been moving mountains for the British Brigade to get passports, confirmed that the Registrar General’s Office released the two passports yesterday.
He was confident Swansea teenage sensation Tivonge Rushesha, Cliff Moyo and Bournemouth Under-21 defender Jordan Zemura would also be able to collect their passports early next week.
Rushesha is also out of the two matches because of injury.
Warriors’ caretaker coach, Joey Antipas, was excited by the developments.
“This is good news for the national team. It’s good to have such type of players in your squad,’’ said Antipas.
“I believe they will do their best for the country. I hope they bring a different dimension, in terms of competition.
“I would want to thank the authorities for making it possible.’’
However, there were disturbing reports from England suggesting Bonne almost ended his dreams of becoming a Warrior.
The Charlton Athletic forward has started life in the English Championship in blistering form and has so far scored five goals in seven outings.
This has earned him rave reviews among the top players in the English second-tier league and thereby brightening chances of a future call-up from the Three Lions.
His script has often been compared to that of Leicester City forward, Jamie Vardy, who rose from the obscurity of lower league football to become one of the hottest properties in the English Premiership.
One of UK’s top sports radio stations, Talk Sport, hinted this week that the 24-year-old was so frustrated by the failure to get a Zimbabwean passport he even considered a future with England.
“Charlton Athletic striker Macauley Bonne could be about to pause his international career as he sets his sights on a possible England call-up in the future,” wrote Anton Stanley of Talk Sport.
“Bonne has already played once for Zimbabwe but this was in a friendly fixture and he could still play for his country of birth (England), should he continue his current run of form.
“The Addicks ace has had an excellent spell in the side as a replacement for Lyle Taylor, scoring five goals in seven starts, and given his exceptional rise at 24-years-old, there is a chance he could replicate the fortunes of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, who went from Stocksbridge Park Steels all the way to Euro 2016 with the Three Lions.
“Bonne has not turned his back on Zimbabwe, the homeland of his parents, but is considering the options he has after frustrating complications as he attempted to get a passport ahead of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
“He was ultimately unsuccessful and missed out on the opportunity to play in the competition…
“The striker hit 45 goals in 90 National League matches with Leyton Orient in the past two seasons, helping them earn promotion to League Two before earning a switch to Charlton.
“Several top clubs continue to keep an eye on Bonne following his recent upturn in form, although he will soon face a battle with fellow forward Taylor for a starting berth in the team.”
Mpandare said they have also heard about Bonne’s links with England but nothing official came from the player.
The Warriors manager said they were expecting him in camp when the Warriors start trooping in from tomorrow for the twin assignment against Botswana and Zambia.
“It’s obvious there is bound to be talk to that effect because Bonne has been enjoying excellent form of late,’’ said Mpandare.
‘’It’s obviously tempting for any player in his situation if you hear that England are after you.
“But the guy has committed himself to playing for Zimbabwe and that is the reason we have been running around to make sure he gets the requisite documents.
“Now, we have the passport. We would like to thank the Minister (Kirsty Coventry) and the RG’s office for all their efforts.
‘’It’s been a struggle in the past but I tell you, for the first time, the process has been so smooth.’’
The Warriors are expected to start camp tomorrow with 24 players.
Nine have dropped from the original 32-member squad.
These include Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa, Douglas Nyaupembe, Adam Chicksen, Tivonge Rushesha, Jordan Zemura, Phineas Bamusi, Jonah Fabisch, Admiral Muskwe and Evans Rusike.
But the backbone of the team, who include the likes of Khama Billiat, Alec Mudimu, Teenage Hadebe, Marshall Munetsi, skipper Knowledge Musona and Marvelous Nakamba of Aston Villa, are fit and ready.
Chapungu goalkeeper, Talbert Shumba, who replaced Mapisa is the latest addition.
Zimbabwe get the ball rolling in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Botswana next Friday at the National Sports Stadium before travelling to Zambia four days later for a date against Chipolopolo in the Group H duels.
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze, Simbarashe Chinani, Talbert Shumba
Defenders: Alec Mudimu, Cliff Moyo, Teenage Hadebe, Devine Lunga, Ian Nekati, Partson Jaure, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Kelvin Moyo.
Midfielders: Marvellous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi, Ovidy Karuru, Butholwezi Ncube, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Terrence Dzukamanja, Thabani Kamusoko
Strikers: Khama Billiat, Tino Kadewere, Knowledge Musona, Macauley Bonne, Knox Mtizwa, Prince Dube