ENGLAND-based forward, Macauley Bonne, apparently had an appointment with a cardiologist to attend to an urgent heart condition, ruling him out of the Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.
Bonne, who got a Zimbabwean passport last Friday to enable him to feature for the Warriors for the first time, was scheduled to have a cardiac MRI conducted at the St. George’s University of London yesterday.
His management team indicated, in the communications between them and the local football authorities gleaned by our Harare Bureau that the procedure was urgent.
”Macauley has an urgent heart scan tomorrow (yesterday). This is a major issue. I will explain shortly and send you the documentation,” his agent said.
“Unfortunately, with Macauley’s heart complication, this will rule him out for, at least, the first qualifier.
”This is very much regretful, but the heart condition needs to be investigated before anything else.
“I have requested that his club send a formal email tomorrow, informing the relevant parties. He is absolutely delighted to have his passport, but this has come at an unfortunate time.”
The 24-year old had appeared frustrated over the years by the delays in getting a Zimbabwean passport.
Bonne, who has scored five goals in eight appearances for English Championship side Charlton Athletic this season, did not rule himself out future engagements with the Warriors.
“I am both delighted and privileged to be selected to join the Zimbabwe national team and I appreciate all those involved in securing my passport” Bonne said in a statement.
“I’ve been working extremely hard at club level and to receive this, is something I (dreamt) of as a boy. Unfortunately, and reluctantly, I am unable to travel due to unforeseen medical grounds, which is a huge frustration to me, as it will be to the people of Zimbabwe.
“The messages of support, via social media, are much appreciated and although I cannot reply to every message, I do take every one to heart. I’d like to wish the entire Zimbabwe team the very best of luck in the coming game(s). In the meantime, I will maintain a line of communication to Welly Mpandare and the Zifa representatives.”
Zifa yesterday described the latest developments as a setback. “We are still to get the official communication from his side. We understand the nation was expecting to finally see him in Zimbabwean colours this week,” said Zifa spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela. Bonne’s withdrawal leaves Warriors caretaker coach, Joey Antipas, with 22 players expected in camp ahead of the preparations which begin today.
Zimbabwe are set to play Botswana at the National Sports Stadium this Friday and then travel to Zambia for the second match in this Group H four days later.
Another Warriors striker, Tino Kadewere, has also been ruled out after picking up a hamstring injury while on duty for his French Ligue 2 side Le Havre last Friday.
“I definitely had him in my plans. So this is a big blow to the plans but life has to go on,” said Antipas.
“I believe we have some good players in the squad and the likes of Knox Mutizwa have been enjoying good form of late.
“I am sure they will be able to stand up and get the job done.”
Antipas had requested a number of first time foreign-based players from the British Brigade but, as it stands, he is only able to have Cliff Moyo of Kidderminster Harriers.
This follows the withdrawal of Swansea teenage sensation, Tivonge Rushesha and Jonah Fabisch. The others Douglas Nyaupembe, Martin Mapisa, Adam Chicksen and Jordan Zemura were dropped along with Admiral Muskwe of Leicester City last week with Zifa citing financial constraints.
“I would have loved to have them and have a look at the lads but my hands are tied. This time around it was not possible,” said Antipas.
The Warriors yesterday welcomed the bulk of their players, mostly from South Africa.
Midfield star, Khama Billiat, led the arrivals with goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, Alec Mudimu, Marshall Munetsi and England-based Cliff Moyo also joining in.
The South Africa-based duo of Terrence Dzvukamanja and Kuda Mahachi and midfielder Thabani Kamusoko, who plies his trade in Zambia, were the early birds on Sunday.
Marvelous Nakamba, who featured for Aston Villa in the English Premiership match against on Sunday, is expected today while captain Knowledge Musona is the last player expected tomorrow.
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze, Simbarashe Chinani, Talbert Shumba
Defenders: Alec Mudimu, Cliff Moyo, Teenage Hadebe, Devine Lunga, Ian Nekati, Partson Jaure, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Kelvin Moyo.
Midfielders: Marvelous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi, Ovidy Karuru, Butholwezi Ncube, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Thabani Kamusoko
Strikers: Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Knox Mtizwa, Prince Dube