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Date: 24 November 2017

  South African - Soccer

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Scramble for Benjani in SA?

[Posted 25 May 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Scramble for Benjani  in SA?
There have been many reports in the South African media linking Benjamin "Benjani" Mwaruwari with a move to two of Gauteng's top three clubs during this off-season, with the news of the competition of the capture of Benjani's signature doing the rounds ahead of the former Zimbabwe skipper's testimonial to be staged in Harare on Saturday.

Kaizer Chiefs were recently reported to be eyeing a Benjani move in the off-season.  Now it is Mamelodi Sundowns who are lately linked with a move for the former Manchester City and Portsmouth star striker.

The respected football magazine Kick-Off.com of South Africa reports that the Patrice Motsepe owned Sundowns are preparing a surprise move for the experienced player who retired from international football with Zimbabwe in October 2010.

According to Kick-Off, Mwaruwari has become a target of the big Gauteng's big clubs because he is now a free agent following his termination of his contract at Portsmouth who have since been relegated from the Championship to League One in England.

It is speculated that Benjani is touted as a replacement of Katlego Mphela who has endured a frustrating spell at the Chloorkop side where he has not really managed to fulfill his career which appeared promising again after his Confederations Cup exploits on home soil in 2009.

Benjani, who has previously stated his desire to return to the ABSA premiership after the end of his spell in Europe, is a big earner whose fees can only be afforded by big Gauteng clubs like Sundowns, Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

His former club Jomo Cosmos, who were relegated to the National First Division at the end of the just ended season, were rumoured to be eyeing Benjani's reunion with the club that exported him to Europe, but as things stand, Cosmos is not an option for Benjani.

The former Zimbabwe skipper left South Africa after having been crowned Players of the Season and Players' Player of the season in his short stint in the PSL.

He moved to Grasshoppers in Switzerland, before being bought by Auxere of France's Ligue 1, from where he attracted the interest of Harry Redknapp at the recommendation of Arsene Wenger of Arsenal against whose team Benjani had played while in France with Auxere.

During the 2007/2008 season Benjani was the toast of English football and raced to the top of the leading goal scorer's charts while at Portsmouth with 12 goals until the end of the first half of the league that season.

Benjani's great exploits in the colours of Portsmouth earned him a big money move to the emerging aristocrats of the Barclays English Premier Soccer League Man City who had just been bought by the oil-rich Abu Dabhi company.

While Benjani made an instant impact in the colours of Man City, scoring in his debut match and a derby against Manchester United, with the benefit of hindsight, Benjani will be the first to admit that he probably made a move too early.

If he had stayed at Portsmouth until the end of the season, Benjani could have scored more goals for the club and could still have made a big money move at the end of the season. The arrival of too many quality players at City meant Benjani had to leave for Sunderland on loan, before he was released by City, after which he returned to Portsmouth.

Benjani is currently back home and pondering his next move since he is a free agent. It is not definite that he will return to the ABSA premiership. He still has options. It is rumoured that there is interest in his services from France, from Asia and the lower divisions in England.



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