By Eddie Chikamhi
Macauley Bonne is excited with the strides he has made in applying for a Zimbabwean passport which could make him eligible for selection for the upcoming African Cup of Nations football finals in Egypt.
The England-born forward, however, might need to go through a complex process before he can be available for the Warriors following the recent amendments to the Zimbabwe Citizenship Bill.
Bonne, who has been a long time target for successive Warriors coaches — Callisto Pasuwa and Sunday Chidzambwa — has been dithering in the past, but he announced yesterday that he has completed the first part of his passport application.
Marshall Gore of the Team Zimbabwe UK said the forward has received assistance from the Zimbabwe Embassy in England.
“We’re pleased to inform you that we have successfully facilitated and completed the first phase of Macauley Bonne’s passport application at the Zimbabwe UK Embassy today.
“We’re now working very close with the national team manager Wellington Mpandare in ensuring that the process is completed and finalised in Zimbabwe without any further delays.
“Macauley was so pleased and relieved to see this process through. He is fully committed to be part of the Zimbabwe national team in future assignments.
“We want to thank Macauley’s family and his agent Matthew Halford for their support in making this mission possible. We would also like to thank the staff at the Zimbabwe Embassy for being helpful,” said Gore.
Team Zimbabwe UK are one of the pressure groups that have been pushing for players with Zimbabwean roots to come back and represent their fatherland.
Nottingham Forrest defender Tendayi Darikwa has played a role in the national team’s qualification for the upcoming African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Leicester City Under-23’s Admiral Muskwe, although he did not feature, was part of the squad that played the last game against Congo which Zimbabwe won 2-0 to seal their qualification. Warriors coach Chidzambwa had wanted Bonne for the Congo game, but the player was taking his time to present his papers to the passport office.
But Bonne this week also had a chance to officially meet Zimbabwe’s ambassador in England, Christian Katsande, who welcomed him at Zimbabwe House and wished him well in his endeavours with his club and the national team.
His papers will be sent to Registrar-Genera’s Office in Harare for processing.
The next target for the Team Zimbabwe UK is England Under-21 midfielder Reiss Nelson, who is currently in the books of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany.
“We want to reassure all the Warriors fans that we’re fully behind the national team and we will continue to work in close collaboration with ZIFA, supporting fully the gradual integration of the Diaspora-based players in the national team set-up based on merit.
“Our next target now is Reiss Luke Nelson. He is eligible to play for Zimbabwe due to his Zimbabwean heritage through his father.
“We’re currently working very closely with Mr Mpandare, pursuing discussions with the player’s management team. We’re hoping for a good outcome,” said Gore.
But the efforts could face some hitches after Cabinet recently approved the amendment of the Zimbabwe Citizenship Act which permits dual citizenship only for citizens by birth.
The development will see every Zimbabwean citizen by birth, especially those in the Diaspora, being entitled to dual citizenship and that the law will not require them to renounce their foreign citizenship before they could be issued with a Zimbabwean national identity document.
Once it’s signed into law, the situation will be a complete opposite for those who were born outside and want to claim citizenship by descent. The likes of Darikwa, Bonne and Nelson were born in UK.
However, Mpandare said they are looking to get exemptions as has happened before with the likes of legendary goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar and golfer Nick Price who represented the country with distinction on the international stage. The Herald.