Sunday Nov 07, 2021. 10:00
Zimbabwe national team manager Wellington Mpandare says they will not “be that desperate as to force ourselves on an individual” after English-based Macauley Bonne turned down his latest call-up to the Warriors.
The 26-year-old, who is on the books of Ipswich Town on loan from Queens Park Rangers, has played in two friendly games for Zimbabwe in the past, but has yet to feature in a competitive match.
He was recently named in the Warriors’ squad for their impending 2022 World Cup Qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia, but Ipswich wrote to the Zimbabwe FA on Friday to inform them that Bonne will not be making the trip on health grounds.
“Mr Bonne has a medical exemption stating that he should not play football in conditions of high temperature,” Ipswich wrote. “Given the current temperatures in Southern Africa at this time, it is not advisable for Mr Bonne to make the trip.”
Bonne has been in excellent form for Ipswich this season, netting 11 goals in 15 appearances in League One.
Yet Zimbabwe cannot dwell on Bonne’s continued absence, according to Mpandare, who insists that there are plenty of other prospects at home and abroad to focus their energy on instead.
“It’s unfortunate he is not coming because of the medical reasons stated by the club. We just wish him well in terms of his health,” said Mpandare, as quoted by The Herald.
“On our side, it’s very clear that if he cannot play in our climatic conditions then we cannot force him to do so. It also means he cannot play for Zimbabwe.
“But, we had always wanted to give him the chance because he had indicated he wanted to come and play for the country. He even came home some time back and played some few games”
Mpandare added, “We did everything to make sure he gets an equal opportunity and even went out of our way to secure a Zimbabwean passport for him.
“So, we take his word. The last time he had a heart complication and this time he has indicated that he has a health condition which is not friendly to high temperatures.
“This can be interpreted in many ways. It may also mean that he cannot play for Zimbabwe because we always play our games in these conditions in Africa, not in Europe.
“So, we cannot be that desperate as to force ourselves on an individual when we have a huge database of players, including over 60 prospective talented players, in the UK alone.”
Zimbabwe will play South Africa in Soweto on Thursday 11 November, before wrapping up their group phase campaign with a home game against Ethiopia in Harare on Sunday 14 November.
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