BY HENRY MHARA
MACAULEY Bonne has submitted his application for a Zimbabwean passport, as the striker begins the process of becoming a Warriors international, a development that will excite Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga and supporters ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Egypt this June.
Pictures of him with officials from the Zimbabwe embassy in London emerged on Thursday night, and Warriors manager Wellington Mupandare yesterday confirmed that Bonne had submitted his application form for a Zimbabwean passport so that he could be eligible to feature for the national senior men’s football team.
“I can confirm that he submitted his papers at the Zimbabwe embassy in England, and we will take it from there. It’s a good development for the country and the Warriors. He is a good player, and he will obviously give the coach more options,” Mupandare said.
Bonne is one of the players with Zimbabwean parentage born abroad, whom Chidzambga is desperate to have in the team, but could not select him in the previous competitve matches because he did not hold a Zimbabwean passport.
Bonne, the Leyton Orient hotshot in England’s National League, who is tipped for a big move into the English Premier League, has previously featured for the Warriors, but only in friendly matches.
Chidzambga hopes the striker would have secured his passport by the time the Warriors squad for the Afcon finals is announced.
The Warriors qualified for the Afcon finals, set for June 21 to July 19, after finishing top of Group G.
Zimbabwe are currently on a drive to convince foreign-based players with local parentage to play for the Warriors.
So far, they have managed to persuade Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa and Alec Mudimu, who play for Welsh side Cefn Druids — two players who played a crucial role in Zimbabwe’s latest Afcon qualification success.
Besides Bonne, other stars born abroad that Zimbabwe is pursuing include Adam Chicksen, Kundai Benyu, Tristan Nydam and Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson.
Darikwa, also born in England, told NewsDay Sport last month that he was convincing Bonne to take up the Zimbabwean citizenship, having been impressed with the Warriors, and what he had seen in Zimbabwe.
Born in England to Zimbabwean parents, Bonne is eligible to represent both England and Zimbabwe national teams.
He made his debut for the Zimbabwe under-23 side in a friendly match against a full-strength Morocco national team on November 16, 2014.
He had a dreamstart to his international career, scoring the opening goal after 18 minutes when he slotted the ball between the legs of Morocco goalkeeper, Bono.
However, despite his debut goal, Zimbabwe went on to lose the game 2-1, with the experience leaving Bonne hungry for more chances with the national side.
In August 2015, Bonne was called up by Zimbabwe for their 2017 Afcon qualifiers against Guinea on September 6.
After pulling out of the squad due to club commitments, Bonne was called up again in March 2016 for Zimbabwe’s qualifier against Swaziland on March 25.
He was again forced to withdraw from the Zimbabwe squad, on this occasion due to passport technicalities.
Bonne played for the Warriors in friendly matches against Namibia and Lesotho in 2017.
He has so far scored 21 goals for Leyton Orient, who sit at the top of the table with 77 points, pushing for an automatic ticket into England’s League Two.
There is stiff competition for that automatic ticket, however, with second placed Salford City (76 points), Solihull Moors (75 points) and Wrexham (72 points).