African-bred 'Boni' enjoys new football lifestyle
HAVING seen the best and worst of tribal lifestyles in Africa, Kenyan-born Bonventure "Boni'' Thomas-Remijo is grateful to be living in South East Queensland.
"One hundred percent. I love it here,'' Thomas-Remijo said when asked about his new homeland.
As a youngster, his family lived in Kenyi and Sudan, close to where people were starving and you had to be in a specific tribe to avoid danger.
However, for the exciting Western Pride footballer, that is all behind him.
He's finished a Diploma of Fitness, keen to see where football takes him in the National Premier Leagues state competition and beyond.
"It's a really good experience,'' he said, improving his skills at Western Pride.
"I like the bonding together. I'm really loving it.''
Development-minded Western Pride head coach Graham Harvey is a huge fan of Thomas-Remijo.
"He's a really nice lad,'' Harvey said.
"He ticks all the boxes with his age, with his ability and his physical attributes.
"He's still got a bit of work technically to do, which he knows, and he's working hard at that.
"He's getting his opportunity in the first team and he scored a couple of weeks ago against South West so that was good for him.''
Thomas-Remijo said netting that first NPL goal, after sidestepping a SW player, was a huge thrill.
He played his junior football in Africa and New Zealand before his family relocated to Australia.
He linked with Rochedale in last year's Division 1 competition before trialling for Pride.
Thomas-Remijo has come off the bench in seven NPL matches this season, impressing Harvey with his speed and willingness to learn.
"Boni's doing really well,'' Harvey said. "He's making a good impact in the first team.''
That included showcasing his speed in the second half of Pride's recent mid-week game against New Zealand in Ipswich.
"I guess it is natural,'' Thomas-Remijo said, when asked where his rapid turn of pace comes from.
While plotting his future, the popular teenager is also working in a warehouse in Brisbane.
"I want to try and make it into the Roar,'' he said, turning 19 in October.
Pride's next match was to be against Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon before it was postponed due to the weather.
Pride lost 3-1 to Sunshine Coast at Kawana last weekend.
"We didn't really deserve anything out of the game on Sunday,'' Harvey said. "We got beaten up a little bit.''
Sunshine Coast have been in the state league longer than Pride, having attracted some seasoned footballers.
"They have some old boys up there now, lots of experience from around Brisbane,'' Harvey said.
Meanwhile, the Western Pride women were scheduled to play Redlands at Cleveland on Saturday before that game too was postponed.
Pride players Montanna McAvoy and Rahni Pritchard have been chosen in the Queensland Schoolgirls under-19 team.
The 16-year-old duo represented Met West at the state championships in Townsville last weekend.