By Eddie Chikamhi
It is a pity Zimbabwe are failing to nail him down, but England-based forward Macauley Bonne continues to grow his profile after he became the first Leyton Orient player in 60 years to breach the 20-goal mark in back to back seasons.
The 23-year old scored his 20th goal of the current campaign last week and reminded the club of their legend Tommy Johnston who achieved the feat in three successive seasons in the last 1950s.
Johnston still hold the goal-scoring records at the club and has a stand in the stadium named after him in memory of his exploits after scoring a club record 123 goals in 190 games in two spells with the O’s.
Bonne may not be able to compare with the legendary Johnston at the moment but the Zimbabwean export has shown great promise in the National League.
He has shone brilliantly in the fifth tier of the English football and has attracted the attention from as high up as the English Premier League.
The quartet of Premier League teams Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Huddersfield are understood to have been monitoring the player from a distance. He has also been linked with lower division sides Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Norwich City and Leeds.
The Zimbabwean sensation banged in 22 goals in all competitions last season and he is not showing any signs of slowing down. He has taken his tally to 42 goals and with this kind of form, Bonne certainly has his best years ahead of him.
His coach Justin Edinburgh has been singing praises. Edinburg was impressed with Bonne’s composure for his first goal during Leyton Orient’s 3-0 win over Maidstone United in the last game as his brace helped the National League leaders extend their gap at the summit to three points.
“Macauley is maturing rapidly and it was all about the touch which gave him the chance to score our second goal.
“I remember a game last season and he missed a couple and it affected him for a period, but this shows where he is mentally, physically and tactically now as a player,” said Edinburg.
Bonne is one of the diaspora players that Zimbabwe have been wooing over the past few years to feature for their fatherland.
Bonne is understood to be keen to get his papers in place on time and was last Thursday scheduled to meet his agent over the passport issue. Of late, he has been placing most of his attention on his game.
So far, only Tendai Darikwa and Alec Mudimu have since secured the documents that have enabled them to feature for the Warriors call with several others like Andy Rinomhota, Adam Chicksen, Kundai Benyu, Kelly Lunga still to get their Zimbabwean passports which would make them eligible to play for the national team.
ZIFA were hoping to pin down some of the players ahead of the final Group B qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville but Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said they are still to make headway.
“We are still to make progress. The issue is that it’s the players themselves who have to submit their papers through the Zimbabwean embassy and once that is done we do the follow up.
“So we are hoping to pick it up from there because we have now begun working on the ticket bookings. If we get no joy in the few coming days then we have no other choice,” said Mpandare. The Herald.