IT’S almost not even worth pointing out that Jamie Vardy has had the career that all non-league soccer players in England dream of.
In fact, it’s been the career that almost any man or woman dreams of.
From being plucked from non-league football to winning the English Premier League with Leicester City and representing England, it couldn’t get much better and Vardy’s story is something that everyone can get behind.
Which is why it may seem a little bit spoilt and unrealistic to feel that we’re already due another Jamie Vardy story, but everyone does think that, and dreaming is the whole point anyway.
Besides, it seems we’ve got a pretty good contender in Leyton Orient’s Macauley Bonne.
At only 22-years-old, the young man is showing a lot of promise and has plenty of time yet for a meteoric Vardy-like rise from non-league football.
Born in England to Zimbabwean parents, Bonne is eligible to represent both England and Zimbabwe national teams at international level.
He’s a prolific striker and is loved by his club’s supporters. He has also performed better than ever since arriving at Leyton from Colchester United in 2017.
And still he continues to please, playing a key role for his club, in what has so far been an incredibly successful season.
This is only his second season at Leyton and his first saw him score an enviable total of 25 goals in 52 matches. That was the first time in his career that he went into double figure scoring in a single season. This season he’s already scored an impressive nine goals in 13 matches, in what looks to be something of a statement of intent from a hungry young player.
And hungry he will have to be to follow in Vardy’s footsteps. Vardy (31) made the move to Leicester — then a championship side — back in 2012, for £1 million. Since then he’s achieved more than anyone would have dreamed.
From being promoted to the Premiership, to winning the Premiership, to playing in both the Euros and World Cup for his national side. In fact, he’s now even following David Cameron’s lead by speaking at the Oxford Student Union this month.
Amazingly, over the summer he was also rumoured to be linked with Spanish outfit, Atletico Madrid. That move would have seen him go from non-league football to a strong Spanish side who are expected to do well in the Champions League previews (10-1 to win!) in the space of six years. It’s an unbelievable accomplishment — what he has accomplished in such a short period of time and what he has done for the profile of non-league football.
But that does not mean we are not ready for another similar story and fans will be watching with bated breath to see whether young Bonne can follow in his footsteps.
It already looks as though this season he may outdo his sensational performance at Leyton last year, in which case he surely makes himself a prime contender for a higher league team.
If there’s one thing managers simply can’t afford to ignore, it’s goals, and Bonne is slotting enough of them to grab the headlines. Hopefully, we will see another Vardy-like rise sooner than we expected.
Bonne’s exploits have not escaped the attention of Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa and national team manager Wellington Mpandare.
Chidzambwa wants Bonne to be part of the Warriors outfit that he wants to take with him to next year’s African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
Zimbabwe just need a point from their remaining two qualifiers against Liberia in Monrovia and Congo at the National Sports Stadium to seal their qualification for the continental soccer show-piece.
Chidzambwa has since unleashed Mpandare to ensure that such players like Kelvin Lunga, Tristan Nydem, Kundai Benyu, Adam Chicksen, Tendayi Darikwa, Alec Mudimu and Bonne, who were born of Zimbabwean parents but staying abroad come to play for their fatherland.
Mpandare has already succeed with getting the defensive of Darikwa and Mudimu to play for the Warriors with the senior team manager still optimistic of getting more of the “British Brigade’’ to come home and play for Zimbabwe.
“I have been in constant touch with Boone, Lunga and the other players. We are now targeting to have their documents in place in time for the game against Congo,’’ Mpandare said.
Mpandare is also expected to travel to England next month to assist the players in regularising their documents and secure Zimbabwean passports.