Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
MACAULEY BONNE, dubbed by the English media as the next Jamie Vardy, has declared his availability to represent the Warriors at the 2019 AFCON finals after revealing he had now completed all the documents to feature for the country.
The 23-year-old forward was not named in the enlarged 34-man provisional squad for the AFCON finals and COSAFA Cup with team manager, Wellington Mpandare, telling a media briefing in Harare on Tuesday Bonne would be considered if he regularised his Zimbabwean citizenship.
However, about three hours after Mpandare, in the company of Warriors assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa, announced the enlarged provisional squad, Bonne took to Twitter to tell the world he had completed the exercise to play for the Warriors.
”To counter the press reports, I have completed all necessary documents to get my #Zimbabwe passport,” he tweeted.
”I will be travelling to #AFCON2019 this summer, representing my country.”
Bonne also posted a picture shaking hands with the Zimbabwe Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Christian Katsande, at the Zimbabwean Embassy in London.
The striker has already represented Zimbabwe in an international friendly against Morocco and scored for the Warriors.
He has a contract with Leyton Orient, who play in the National League, the fifth-tier of English football, but his 45 goals in 93 appearances for them, including 24 and four assists in 46 matches this season, has charmed mant neutrals.
In the countdown to the January transfer window, many English media outlets reported that a number of Premiership teams, including Leicester City, could go for Bonne.
They dubbed him the next Vardy of English football who could follow in the footsteps of the England striker who rose from lower leagues to become one of the most feared forwards in the Premiership.
Big striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who did not play a part in the qualifiers, was brought back into the team with the coaches saying he was a natural goal-scorer, who already has a goal at the Nations Cup finals, and his big frame could also come in handy against tough opponents in Egypt.
Mushekwi was always going to be hard to ignore, especially against a background where none of those who are considered out-and-out strikers, managed to score a goal during the six qualifying matches for the Warriors.
The team’s goals were scored by inspirational skipper Knowledge Musona and the team’s X-Factor, Khama Billiat, while roving leftback, Ronald Pfumbidzai, got the other goal.
Chidzambwa breathed new life into the international football careers of about half-a-dozen players, closed the door on a dozen others who were part of the last AFCON finals show and kept faith in those served him with distinction in the qualifiers.
Dennis Dauda has been plucked from obscurity, Tafadzwa Rusike lifted from the wilderness of international football, Thabani Kamusoko given a kiss of life and Walter Musona handed a welcome relief from the horrors stalking him at his base in South Africa.
Goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze was rewarded for his excellent maiden season in Super Diski, and possibly the cool head he kept exhibiting on the occasions he was left out of the Warriors squad, while another chance was handed out to Amazulu’s impressive defensive midfielder Butholezwe Ncube.