Bill Antonio stakes Warriors claim

Bill Antonio

FORMER Dynamos midfielder Bill Antonio continues to stake a claim for a Warriors return after making yet another impressive display to help his Belgium Pro League side KV Mechelen to a comprehensive 3-1 home victory over RWD Molenbeek on Sunday.

The 21-year-old was introduced in the 65th minute at a time his side was struggling to break down the relegation strugglers, who were playing with 10 men following a red card to defender Reine-Adélaïde, four minutes into the game.

Twelve minutes after Antonio's introduction, Mechelen grabbed the opener, which, however, lasted just for 14 minutes as RWD grabbed an 86th minute equaliser.

But two quick fire goals in a space of two minutes deep into optional time ensured a comfortable victory for the home side, who recorded their second win on the bounce.

Without mentioning names, Mechelen coach Besnik Hasi credited the win to the impact that his substitutes made in the game.

Sunday’s game was Antonio's sixth appearance for Mechelen as the club slowly eases him into the senior squad.

The speedy winger scored his first ever goal in the Belgian Pro League last week, netting an 83rd minute winning goal in the 2-1 victory over giants Gent.

In that game, he was introduced in the 75th minute with the contest deadlocked at 1-1.

The victory marked the first league win for KV Mechelen at Gent in 12 years.

Antonio moved to Mechelen from Dynamos two years ago and spent last season playing for the club's developmental side, where he made some impressive displays to earn himself a place in the senior team this term.

His good showing, playing in one of the best leagues in Europe, is good news for the country as he is expected to be drafted back into Warriors squad for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers in June against Lesotho and South Africa.

Several pundits feel that the midfielder is now ready and ripe to be a full and crucial member of the Warriors squad.

Antonio made his international debut with the senior national team as an 18-year-old in a 1–0 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification loss to South Africa on November 11, 2021, in Johannesburg, replacing Khama Billiat late into the match.

It was his first senior call-up. 

Meanwhile, Tino Kadewere missed a penalty for Nantes in a 0-0 draw at Marshall Munetsi’s Stade Reims.

The Warriors striker who joined the club on loan from Lyon last month stepped up after his team were awarded a penalty in the 69th minute when Abdoul Bamba was brought down in the box. Kadewere’s effort was saved by Reims keeper Yehvann Diouf.

Munetsi came off the bench in the second half to mark his return from injury, which had kept him on the sidelines for over six weeks.

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