Maro Bonsu-Maro can’t wait to get that goal-scoring feeling back.
The Auckland City FC striker has endured a frustrating ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership after missing a large chunk of the campaign with injury.
After playing in the first three matches of the season in November he was ruled out with a knee injury and then suffered a concussion in a minor car accident.
He returned to the training paddock this month and will be fighting for a spot in the matchday squad as the Navy Blues continue their Premiership push.
Auckland City have moved two points clear at the top of the ladder after beating the Hamilton Wanderers 2-1 last weekend and Bonsu-Maro has one thing on his mind.
“Just scoring some goals. I want to get some goals and get some stats,” he said.
“I’m just keen to get back into it.”
With the ever-growing awareness around head injuries across a range of sports, Bonsu-Maro said he took his time to recover from his concussion, which was a painstaking process that involved large amounts of downtime at home.
“The thing about the concussion – normally if you pull your hamstring you can still bike and stuff and work on other things but then the fact I couldn’t do anything, I just had to relax and let it flow.
“Dark curtains, no phone, no TV, just chilling and relaxing.”
Having progressed through Auckland City’s youth programme, he made his debut in New Zealand’s national league for the senior side in the 2018-2019 season.
Blessed with plenty of pace, he also played winter football for Manukau United in Auckland’s Northern Regional Football League last year.
Born in New Zealand, Bonsu-Maro’s father is Ghanaian and his mother is from the Cook Islands.
Bonsu-Maro represented the Cooks at U-17 level in 2013 as they won their four-team preliminary tournament to earn a spot at the OFC U-17 Championship in Vanuatu.
Their highlight of the qualifying event was a 7-1 win over Tonga where Bonsu-Maro grabbed two goals.
Stepping up to the main draw proved a tough ask for the young Cook Islanders as they lost all five of their matches but Maro-Bonsu took plenty out of the trip.
“It was good because my mum is from the Cooks and it’s good to make her happy just playing for the Cook Islands squad.
“It was just a good experience to get amongst it and go to the islands and play with some of my cousins.”
He’s well known in Cook Islands football circles given he has also played for local clubs Tupapa Maraerenga and Puaikura FC in the OFC Champions League Qualifying Stage in recent years.
In 2018, he was part of the Tupapa squad that progressed to the competition proper although they were unable to advance from pool play.
The 23-year-old is yet to make his senior international debut for the Cook Islands but that may change in the future.
“It’s always in the back of my head. My mum’s saying ‘go for it’ and I’m quite happy because the coach and the staff there know that.”
Auckland City FC coach Jose Figueira said Bonsu-Maro was an important part of their squad.
“He’s someone that’s highly energetic, always got a smile on his face, loves football, runs his heart out, he’s really explosive and is dynamic but also someone that at a young age is still learning and developing and growing,” Figueira said.
“He’s got a real eye for goal.”
It won’t be long until the name Maro Bonsu-Maro is back on the scoresheet for the Navy Blues.
Auckland City’s next game is against cross-town rivals Eastern Suburbs AFC at Madills Farm on Sunday.