By Robson Sharuko
Fears that Macauley Bonne’s promising career could be cut short by a heart condition have been allayed after extensive cardiac tests gave the Zimbabwe international the greenlight to continue his journey as a professional footballer.
The 24-year-old Charlton Athletic striker was forced to skip the Warriors’ two opening 2019 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia to enable him to undergo the medical check-ups.
Bonne, part of the British Brigade, who have been lured to play for the Warriors, had appeared set to make his AFCON debut after he was finally issued with a passport.
But, no sooner had the travel document been issued, after a prolonged wait, did news break out that Bonne would not be able to answer the call to join the Warriors for the opening two Nations Cup qualifiers because of medical complications.
Some conspiracy theorists quickly started circulating unfounded reports the striker was now having a change of heart, and rather than feature for the Warriors, he was now eyeing a dance with the Three Lions of England for his international football career.
However, English Championship side Charlton Athletic revealed on Wednesday that Bonne had, indeed undergone medical tests and had been given the greenlight to continue with his professional football career.
The Addicks said the striker will continue to be monitored by their medical team.
“The club’s medical team can confirm that Macauley Bonne underwent some planned cardiac investigations last week following a recent routine cardiac screen,’’ Charlton Athletic said in a statement.
“The results of these investigations have been discussed with the sports cardiologist and the player will continue to play and train as normal.
“The club will continue to regularly screen his heart, as recommended, as we do with all our players from U15 through to the first team.”
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare, who has been ZIFA’s point man when it comes to communications with Bonne and his team, had revealed last week that he had received a preliminary report of the medical examinations carried out on the striker.
Speaking on the weekly ZTV football magazine show, “Game Plan”, which is broadcast every Wednesday night, Mpandare said the results provided confirmation that Bonne was right to choose to undergo the medical tests rather than come to feature for the Warriors.
Mpandare said it would be unprofessional for him to release the medical results to the public without Bonne’s consent, and — as the team manager of the national team — his immediate priority was to protect the interests of the players who play for the Warriors.
However, Mpandare had indicated they expected Bonne to be back in action.
Charlton Athletic’s confirmation that Bonne, indeed, underwent medical examinations puts to shame the gospel which was being preached by the merchants of doom, who were suggesting the striker had turned his back on the Warriors.
Although Bonne released a detailed statement confirming the delicacy of his case, it did not convince some people who thrive on negativity and spreading falsehoods.
“I’m 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 released on Twitter.
“I have been working extremely hard at club level, to receive this, is something I dreamed 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).”
Still, as is typical in Zimbabwean football, there was an army of people who refused to accept the reality Bonne needed a medical examination and, instead, started accusing him of turning his back on the Warriors.
The disgusting comments drew the ire of many fans, including supporters of Charlton Athletic, who were alarmed by the misplaced, and toxic views, of those misguided elements.
A number of those fans then started fighting back on Twitter.
“Some of the responses from Zimbabwean supporters are embarrassing, ill-informed and shameful,’’ John Taylor, a Charlton Athletic fan reacted on Twitter. He got support from another fan, Louise Teenans.
“Some of the comments from @online zifa supporters are awful, get a grip of yourselves, health comes before football,’’ she said.
Tatenda Kurira, a Warriors fan, said some of the comments he read were shameful.
“I’m Zimbabwean and I am ashamed by the ill-informed and vile statements being posted by my fellow country (men and women),’’ he reacted on Twitter.
Bonne has been leading the Addicks attack since September after Lyle Taylor was sidelined by injury in August, leaving manager Lee Bowyer with no option but to throw his new striker into the deep-end.
The Zimbabwean responded with a number of crucial goals for Charlton Athletic, and it will be interesting to see how Boyer will deal with the situation now that Taylor is closing in on a return to first team action.
As, for the Warriors, it’s now likely Bonne will make his AFCON debut against African champions, Algeria, in March next year.
The Desert Foxes made it two wins, in as many qualifiers for the 2021 Nations Cup finals, with a 1-0 win over Botswana on Monday night. The Herald