Mapeza gives up on Bonne

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BY Kevin Mapasure

THE Warriors technical team led by interim coach Norman Mapeza has finally given up on United Kingdom-based striker Macauley Bonne after his latest snub of the national team.

Bonne was invited for the Warriors’ World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia next week, but this time, he came up with weather excuses to turn down the offer to play for Zimbabwe.

His team, Ipswich, advised Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare that Bonne could not play under high temperatures in southern Africa due to health issues.

Mapeza, who had decided to give Bonne a chance, has given up on the forward and will not extend another invitation.

Mupandare said this would be the last time that they tried to bring in the striker to the Warriors.

“After this, we can safely say it’s over. We will not invite him again. Clearly there is no interest on his part,” he said.

“We have tried our best, but we can’t force the issue. We have to move on and look elsewhere.”

Yesterday, Ipswich wrote to Mupandare informing him that Bonne could not be part of the Warriors squad.

“You are being advised that Macauley Bonne can’t make it this time around and the reasons are as follows: Mr Bonne has a medical exemption stating that he should not play football in conditions of high temperature. Given the current temperatures in South Africa at this time, it is not advisable for Mr Bonne to make the trip,” club secretary Stuart Hayton wrote to Mupandare.

Several coaches have tried and failed to lure Bonne to play for the national team.

The talented forward has flatly refused to take up the opportunity to add to the two caps he has for Zimbabwe.

Mupandare said they were engaging Tawanda Maswanhise, who plays for Leicester City’s juniors to come for the two matches.

“There are engagements going on, we are still talking, but I can’t say whether its looking good,” he said.

The duo was included in the 25-member squad for the South Africa match  set for next Thursday and at home against Ethiopia three days later.

Mapeza is using the two matches to prepare his team for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

It is the first time that 18-year-old Maswanhise, who has been attracting rave reviews in the UK, has been called up to the national team.

Maswanhise, who was born in Harare before moving to London when he was aged two, has not been capped at any level, making him eligible to play for either Zimbabwe or England at international level.

He is the son of former top Zimbabwean sprinter Jeffrey Maswanhise, who has publicly stated his desire to see the youngster play for the Warriors.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers named him in a Premier League squad for the first time ahead of City’s clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford at the back end of last season.

He also made the final squad for the FA Cup final against Chelsea last season which saw him picking a winners’ medal.

There are other new faces in the provisional squad, with Dynamos goalkeeper Taimon Mvula also receiving his first international call-up, and is one of the five local-based players who have made the cut.

Goalkeepers Washington Arubi and Talbert Shumba have been dropped.

Mapeza said he named a squad that reflected youth and experience as he focused on the Afcon finals in January next year.

“It is all about assessment and building a team for the Afcon tournament next year. We need to restore our pride and make Warriors fans believe in our national team again. We also need to start building a team for the future,” he said.

“That is why we have called in some local players, young players and some senior players for these last two World Cup qualifiers.”

Germany-based youngster Jonah Fabisch, who was part of the Warriors squad in the opening two World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia, but benched in both, has received another call-up.

Devine Lunga, Knox Mutizwa and David Moyo have returned to the Warriors fold after missing the team’s last few matches.

Bournemouth star Jordan Zemura, who was outstanding in the Warriors’ last four qualifiers, misses out due to injury and joins skipper Knowledge Musona, Teenage Hadebe and Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa.

Striker Tino Kadewere, who recently recovered from a long-term injury, has been given time to rediscover form.

The team is expected to fly to South Africa on Monday.

The match is set for FNB Stadium and will kick-off at 9pm.

Warriors squad

Goalkeepers: Taimon Mvula (Dynamos), Donavan Benard (Chicken Inn), Petros Mhari (FC Platinum)

Defenders: Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders), Godknows Murwira (Dynamos)

Midfielders: Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Farai Madhananga (Marumo Gallants), Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune), Tawanda Maswanhise (Leicester), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Ismael Wadi (JDR Stars)

Strikers: David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows)

Follow Kevin on Twitter@kevinmapasure