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Bonne’s Afcon dream edges closer

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

ENGLAND-BORN Zimbabwean striker Macauley Bonne is edging closer towards realising his dream of featuring for the Warriors at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Egypt next month after Zifa finally received his documents for a local passport on Friday.

The 23-year-old striker, whose goals helped Leyton Orient secure promotion to the English Football League Two, was conspicuous by his absence from the provisional 34-member squad for the Cosafa and Afcon tournaments announced by the Warriors technical team on Tuesday.

Bonne, however, immediately went to Twitter to declare that he would be travelling with the team to the continental football fiesta.

“To counter the press reports, I have completed all necessary documents to get my #Zimbabwe passport. I will be travelling to #AFCON2019 this summer, representing my country,” he tweeted.

But the Warriors technical department’s position for his omission then was that they still had not received his application papers for a Zimbabwe passport.

However, Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare confirmed that Bonne’s documents arrived on Friday, adding that there were still no guarantees that the process would be successful.

“Bonne’s papers arrived yesterday (Friday), real work begins now. We start visiting the ‘big’ offices on Monday and we hope and pray that we are going to get the assistance we need,” he told StandardSport yesterday.

“The only challenge is that our Cabinet’s position on dual citizenship is now clear that Bonne may have to renounce his British passport first. The other problem is that we are racing against time and this is a process we could have completed a long time ago had Bonne’s side shown the same kind of enthusiasm as they are showing now,” he added.

Bonne, who has banged 49 goals in all competitions for Orient this season, is on cloud nine over the prospects of representing Zimbabwe at Afcon next month.

Today, the player, who has often time been compared with England and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, will be looking for his 50th goal of the season when Leyton Orient take on AFC Fylde in the FA Trophy at Wembley.

In an interview with the British radio station TalkSPORT, the former Colchester United gunman spoke of his delight at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with Liverpool’s talisman Mohammed Salah when Egypt face Zimbabwe in the Afcon opener on June 21.

“It’s world football now. I’m going to be playing against some of the best players in the world now and I’m excited. I’m itching to go now.

“When you’re on the pitch, they’re just a name to you. I’ve played against some big players. On the pitch you just see them as another footballer, but after, I will have my big fan moment,” he was quoted by talkSPORT.

His goal-scoring prowess has left Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga salivating and also itching to take the player to Africa’s premier football event.

“A player like Bonne, when he has a valid passport, he is worth carrying to the Afcon finals. He scores goals. If he secures a passport, we will consider him.

“We have named 34 players, which we are going to trim to 23 players. But, if Bonne sorts out his documents, we will have him in the team,” Chidzambwa told a local daily paper.

Should Bonne succeed in getting the Zimbabwean passport, he will have to contend for a starting place with the likes of China-based Nyasha Mushekwi, Tino Kadewere, who plays his football in France, and Leicester City’s Admiral Muskwe, among others.

Zimbabwe are in Group A at Afcon alongside hosts Egypt, DRC and Uganda. Chidzambga and his team are targeting reaching the knockout stages of the event for the first time.

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