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Date: 24 April 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Benjani ,'the iron in Blackburn's fire'

[Posted 12 Aug 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Benjani ,

Speculation has been rife about Benjamin 'Benjani' Mwaruwari's imminent move to Blackburn Rovers before the end of this week. Utterances from the Ewood Park boss Sam Allardyce has heightened expectations that Benjani will complete his move to Ewood Park before Saturday.

English and African newspapers have been carrying stories about Benjani training at Ewood Park since Tuesday.

The Guardian believes that Blackburn boss Allardyce is seriously considering Benjani despite the arrival of Mame Biram Diouf on loan from Manchester United recently. The newspaper believes that with Benjani being a free agent at the moment, and Blackburn needing one or two more strikers, the former Manchester City striker is viewed as an inexpensive option upfront by Allardyce.

ESPNsoccernet has quoted Allardyce as confirming the imminent signing of Benjani. Blackburn have also been linked with Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Cocker, who could become a strong competitor with Benjani for an additional striker's role.

Speaking to ESPNsoccernet, the Blackburn boss emphatically denied that he is interested in Reo-Cocker and went on to make a comment which further fuelled speculation about Benjani's imminent arrival at Ewood Park.

Asked by ESPNsoccernet if he was interested in Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker, Allardyce said:

 "No. Not at all. We are trying to bring someone in before Saturday though. We have one or two irons in the fire that have emerged over the last few days, which are exciting me a little bit more but (we are) still quite a way from securing any permanent signing.''

It is believed that the hottest iron in Allardyce's fire is Benjani who has been training at Ewood Park since Tuesday.

So much has been written about how much big Sam admires Benjani. There appears to be evidence to support that assertion.

Last summer, Blackburn attempted to sign Benjani from Manchester City, but the Zimbabwean captain opted to go to Sunderland on-loan instead. His appearance were limited at Steve Bruce's side and Benjani did not make much of an impact to earn a permanent move.

The only thing which may prove a stumbling block for Benjani's intended move are his wages which are believed to be in the region above 50 000 pounds per month. If Jason Roberts is sold, as is intended, then that could provide funds to foot Benjani's wages.

Benjani is most remembered in England for his goal-scoring exploits in the 2008 season when he led the English Premier League Top goal scorers' charts from some time while turning out for Portsmouth. During the January break, Man City pounced on Benjani and lured him to Eastlands.

The aggressive striker failed to replicate the goal scoring form at City which he had shown at Portsmouth and only added 3 goals in the second half of the premiership, to the 12 goals he had already scored in the opening half of the season. Benjani ended the season with 15 goals. Probably if he had remained at Portsmouth, he could have reached 20 goals that season.

The rumour mill will certainly be working full time until end of the weekend. It will be a huge relief for Benjani and the Warriors coach Mapeza, if Blackburn are to snap him up anytime soon. At 31, Benjani remains an important player for Zimbabwe's 2012 Africa Cup Of Nations qualifying hopes.



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