Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN football authorities have given up on England-based forward Macauley Bonne after he turned down the latest call to represent the Warriors in a competitive match.
He has only featured in two friendly internationals.
Bonne claims he has a medical condition which might be worsened by heat, as high temperatures continue to prevail in the country, during this summer period.
He had been named in the 25-member squad for the remaining FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers, against South Africa and Ethiopia, next week.
However, his English League One club, Ipswich Town, yesterday wrote to ZIFA advising them the 26-year-old would not make the trip, on health grounds.
“You are being advised that Macauley Bonne can’t make it this time around and the reasons are as follows:
1) Mr Bonne has a medical exemption stating that he should not play football in conditions of high temperature.
2) Given the current temperatures in Southern Africa at this time, it is not advisable for Mr Bonne to make the trip.”
Ipswich Town club secretary, Stuart Hayton, sent the correspondence.
Bonne is one of the Diaspora players of Zimbabwean heritage, who have been invited in the last few years to come back and add value, to the national team.
But, his commitment to the Warriors has always been a subject of controversy, over the last few years.
The forward has failed to honour various national team call-ups and keeps coming with different excuses for doing so.
There is no questioning, though, that his qualities, as a natural goal-scorer, are what the Warriors have been lacking.
Interim coach, Norman Mapeza, had hoped to convince Bonne to have a change of heart, charmed by the striker’s rich vein of form at Ipswich Town, which has seen him bag 11 goals, in 15 outings.
His predecessor, Zdravko Logarusic, also reached out to him at the beginning of the current World Cup campaign, for the opening two games against South Africa and Ethiopia.
But, the forward was among the UK-based players affected by the Covid-19 travel restrictions in Britain back then.
Warriors team manager, Wellington Mpandare, yesterday said the technical staff will sit down to deliberate if there is need to replace the forward.
Scotland-based David Moyo and Knox Mutizwa are the remaining strikers in the squad.
“It’s unfortunate he is not coming because of the medical reasons stated by the club. We just wish him well in terms of his health,’’ said Mpandare.
“On our side, it’s very clear that if he cannot play in our climatic conditions then we cannot force him to do so.
“It also means he cannot play for Zimbabwe.
“But, we had always wanted to give him the chance because he had indicated he wanted to come and play for the country.
“He even came home some time back and played some few games’’
Mpandare said they have now done everything possible to get Bonne without success.
“We did everything to make sure he gets an equal opportunity and even went out of our way to secure a Zimbabwean passport for him,’’ he said.
“So, we take his word.
“The last time he had a heart complication and this time he has indicated that he has a health condition which is not friendly to high temperatures.
“This can be interpreted in many ways.
“It may also mean that he cannot play for Zimbabwe because we always play our games in these conditions in Africa, not in Europe.
“So, we cannot be that desperate as to force ourselves on an individual when we have a huge database of players, including over 60 prospective talented players, in the UK alone.’’
UK news outlets gave the biggest hint on Thursday, when the squad was announced, that Bonne would not make the trip again ahead of the Limpopo Derby with South Africa, next Thursday.
Instead, he has opted to remain with his club for the Papa John’s Trophy match with Colchester, on Tuesday, and the upcoming League One game against Oxford, set for next Saturday.
Previously, he had also failed to honour the call-ups by Callisto Pasuwa, Sunday Chidzambwa and Joey Antipas.
At first he faced challenges securing a Zimbabwean passport.
But Bonne split opinions between supporters in this country.
There are some who believe he should still be given a chance, and a way has to be found, to accommodate him.
Others believe the door should be closed because he has been given enough chances but has let a number of people down.
Two years ago, he withdrew from Warriors squad due to medical issues, having received his Zimbabwean passport, three days earlier.
The England-based forward said he had an appointment with a cardiologist to attend to an urgent heart condition, ruling him out of the opening 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana, and Zambia.
There were conspiracy theories flying in every direction that the striker was having a change of heart, and rather than feature for the Warriors, he was eyeing a dance with the Three Lions of England, in terms of his international career.
However, English Championship side Charlton Athletic confirmed that Bonne had, indeed, undergone medical tests and had been given the greenlight to continue with his professional career.
“The club’s medical team can confirm that Macauley Bonne underwent some planned cardiac investigations last week following a recent routine cardiac screen,’’ Charlton Athletic said in a statement.
“The results of these investigations have been discussed with the sports cardiologist and the player will continue to play and train as normal. The club will continue to regularly screen his heart, as recommended, as we do with all our players from Under-15 through to the first team.”