Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international footballer, Macauley Bonne, says he is delighted to score on his return to the English Championship after a priceless goal on his debut for Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
His goal, just hours after completing his move from League One side Charlton Athletic, handed his side a share of the spoils against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.
Bonne, who was signed on Friday, was pushed into the side as a second half substitute the following day.
The 24-year-old Zimbabwean became an instant hit with the club’s fans on social media after he came off the bench to score a late header that earned his team a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough.
“Delighted to join #QPR, just as it is to score on my debut,’’ Bonne tweeted. “Thanks a lot for all the welcome messages.
“Great history, amazing team and the fans bring it all together!
“Here’s to the future!”
QPR had fallen behind in the 54th minute when central defender, Yoann Barbet, scored an own goal.
Bonne came in as a 64th minute replacement for Tom Carroll and made an immediate impact with his goal securing a late point for QPR who have one win, two draws and a defeat in the four matches they played so far in England’s second tier league.
Bonne headed in a cross by Frenchman, Yoann Barbet, from the left, deep into stoppage time, when QPR looked to walk away from Sheffield empty handed.
“I was delighted for Macauley,” QPR manager, Mark Warburton, told the club’s website.
“He’ll help Lyndon (Dykes) as well, who has worked so tirelessly.
“Lyndon’s been needing someone to run in behind him and Macauley is match fit — he came on and looked threatening and dangerous.” Warburton said the point was the least his men deserved.
“I thought we played some good football. In the first half, we were organised and we looked threatening. The set-pieces worked really well,’’ he said.
“We were unlucky to hit the post and we looked like a good team.
“They got behind us once, for the goal, and that gave them something to hang on to. But we got behind them five, six or seven times and we never stopped playing.
“I thought we thoroughly deserved the equaliser. That was the least we should have got out of the game.
“We reacted really well to going behind and there were some big performances —Rob Dickie was excellent and, all over the park, we had players who stood up in the conditions.
“The wind and rain made it difficult, but I thought we looked a good side for long periods of that game.
“As I said, I thought we looked a good team in the second half, their goal aside.
“You need to get your rewards. It came late — but we thoroughly deserved to get the equaliser.”
Bonne is still yet to make his full senior debut for Zimbabwe.
However, he is expected to play a role in the upcoming 2021 AFCON and 2022 World Cup campaigns.
He is one player Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, has been tracking.
Logarusic is expected to name his Zimbabwe squad for an international friendly against Malawi set for Blantyre on Sunday.
Bonne missed the previous national team call-ups because he didn’t have valid Zimbabwean passport.
But, that issue has since been sorted out.
It’s unlikely he will make the team for the international friendly against Malawi this weekend since he still needs to settle into the new environment at QPR.
He moved from Charlton Athletic, who were relegated from the Championship, saying he needs to remain closer to the Premiership.
ZIFA are also understood to have sent Bonne invitation, through his old club Charlton, before the switch on Friday and were making frantic efforts to contact the new club.
The striker was unveiled by QPR on Friday after arriving on a three-year contract.
The deal is expected to net Charlton £2 million. Charlton manager, Lee Bowyer, said: “QPR came in and made an offer that we couldn’t refuse.
“He did well for us last season and got 11 goals but looking at the bigger picture, it is the right price and the right deal for us.
“We brought Macauley, in just over a year ago, we paid £200,000, it was more like a project really. He’s done well and improved and we got an offer that was the right offer for the club. “
He had joined the Addicks in the summer of 2019 and scored 11 goals in 33 Championship appearances. Bonne was keen to stay in the English second-tier league after Charlton Athletic were relegated.