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Bonne in Zimbabwe Squad But EFL Clubs Not Releasing Players For Games in Red List Countries
Wednesday, 25th Aug 2021 22:51

Blues striker Macauley Bonne has been named in the Zimbabwe squad for their World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia next month, however, EFL clubs have collectively agreed not to release players for international matches taking place in countries on the Government’s red list.

The Warriors are set to face the South Africans at home in Harare on Friday 3rd September and then the Ethiopians away in Bahir Dar four days later.

However, both Zimbabwe and Ethiopia are on the Government’s red list with an EFL statement made on its clubs’ behalf earlier today stating that players won’t be joining up for games played in those countries.

The statement reads: “EFL clubs have today taken the collective decision not to release players for international matches that are to be played in countries on the UK Government’s ‘red list’ next month.

“The EFL supports the decision of its clubs and is aligned with the position taken by our Premier League colleagues, who are also significantly impacted by this situation.

“The approach has been necessary as a result of FIFA’s policy change whereby clubs are now required to release players to countries that are on a Governmental red list, where previously there was an exemption.

“Discussions had taken place between the Government, FA and FIFA in an effort to find a solution, but due to ongoing public health concerns relating to incoming travellers from red-list countries, no exemption has been granted.

“Given there would be a requirement to quarantine for 10 clear days upon return from a red-list country, the potential impact on players are numerous with considerations relating to health and well-being along with unknown risks relating to Covid-19 transmission.

“Additional pressures would also be placed on players’ match fitness amidst an already challenging domestic and international fixture calendar, and were players to be released to red-list areas, it would have resulted in them being unavailable for a minimum of three domestic fixtures.

“The League recognises that international representation is important for both players and our competitions, with internationals from countries around the world currently playing in the EFL.

“However, in light of the challenges presented, the EFL shares the view that releasing players under these circumstances is not in the collective best interests of individuals, clubs or our domestic competition and the EFL will be writing to FIFA today to explain the position.”

Prior to the squad being named, Zimbabwe FA vice-president Philemon Machana admitted there's not much his association can do regarding players not being released by European sides, other than liaising with the players and their clubs.

“True, we are in a dilemma,” he said. “We have to think like leaders and not be self-centred. We want all our players to come and play for their country, but at the same time we need to consider the careers of these players.

“So the best for us is to continue to engage with the club and the player so that we have a win-win situation.

“Egypt might, for example decide to force Salah to come for [their] match and have the capacity to pay him a week’s salary, but do we have the capacity to pay [Aston Villa's Marvelous] Nakamba for instance?

“So the best is to keep engaging, we believe in engagement. We must think like leaders and safeguard the careers of the players. This is why the coach has delayed naming the squad.”

Ipswich-born on-loan QPR man Bonne, 25, who qualifies to play for the Warriors via his parents, has previously won two caps at full level.

Zimbabwe squad: Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars), Martin Mapisa (Zamora), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo,), Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Jimmy Dzingai (unattached), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana FC), Marshall Munesti (Stade de Reims), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC), Thabani Kamusoko, Tafadzwa Rusike (both ZESCO United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Butholezwe Ncube (AmaZulu), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Kuda Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune United), Ovidy Karuru (unattached), Knowledge Musona (Al Tai), Tino Kadewere (Lyon, France), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates).

Photo: Matchday Images

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Europablue added 07:51 - Aug 26
"Ipswich-born on-loan QPR man Bonne", now that's a mouthful. Personally, I prefer "Ipswich-born Town man Bonne".

Unhinged_dynamo added 08:05 - Aug 26
It's a tricky situation, on one hand how do you stop someone getting the highest honour in the game? To represent your country at any level is something most can only dream of but it has to be balanced with the clubs interests and our country's integrity. Especially the potential knock on of an outbreak in the squad or town.
Conversely if footballers are allowed excemptions then it will start a flood of other professions crying out that they should be allowed to travel willy nilly

Bazza8564 added 08:56 - Aug 26
This is one where we hide behind the EFL rules and keep him playing here, he's clearly in good form and loves the fans and vice versa. Other opportunities will come, I suspect the lad will understand well enough where his priorities lie at present.

Wickets added 09:14 - Aug 26
Does he qualify for England as well ?

dubblue added 09:49 - Aug 26
Feel sorry for Macauley but probably for the best. No doubt there will be other opportunities for the lad when all we will be worring about is whether he can return injury free.

Europablue added 10:21 - Aug 26
It's pretty simple. There should be no exemptions for anyone traveling to red countries unless they can guarantee a travel plan within a bubble. The solution would be to find a host country that is not on the red list. It is entirely unreasonable that people were stopped from going to funerals and being at the birth of their children, and exemptions were made for elite sportsmen. The pandemic was so never so bad as to warrant stopping people from grieving or being able to see their children being born because we were never stopped from going to supermarkets and important people were never stopped from getting around the rules.

Bluearmy_81 added 10:42 - Aug 26
Wickets - he was born in Ipswich so yes, he must be able to play for England

ronnyd added 15:51 - Aug 26
Wow, reading through that list, there are some fantastic names there. Make some of ours,inc mine, seem dull.

budgieplucker added 16:02 - Aug 26
Not sure I would want to venture anywhere near Zimbabwe at the moment!!

Edmundo added 16:08 - Aug 26
Spot on, Europa. We are in a totally different place to some of these countries, pandemic-wise. Of course if we started helping Africa out more health-wise....

Monkey_Blue added 18:00 - Aug 26
I’m sure the anti-Vaxxer, Covid’s a hoax conspiracy theorists will be having a fit over what’s a common sense and science based decision. At least idiocy hasn’t pervaded the EFL on this subject. There is no dilemma.

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