45-year-old Benza Not Perturbed By Critics
HERENTALS owner and player Innocent Benza, who has sent tongues wagging after breaking the record by becoming the oldest player to feature in the local Premiership, is itching to start again when the newly promoted side host Bulawayo City at Rufaro on Saturday.
The 45-year-old Benza, who is popularly known as IB 9, has featured in Herentals’ first five matches of the 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League and drew criticism for his performance in the latest 0-2 defeat against Caps United at the National Sports last Sunday.
As Herentals seek their second win of the season against Bulawayo City on Saturday, Benza says his unmatched love for the game will keep him going, not only for the 2018 race but for seasons to come.
He has been called a passenger in the team by some critics but Benza, who has also been defended by his coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva, believes he has more to offer in the team.
“I still have the brain to create goals, as a team we have different strengths. We can’t all be speedsters, in the art of football my task is to simply create goals,” says Benza.
Benza had a decent game in Kariba where Herentals registered their first win in the Premiership after beating hosts ZPC Kariba 1-0 at Nyamhunga courtesy of a Blessing Majarira strike on March 29.
Herentals now have four points from one win and a draw in the opening five games of the season.
“The target has always been to do better, we always strive to achieve greater things at Herentals so survival will be key for us.
“I love this game and that is why I have come a long way with this team. My ability to play keeps me in the game,” said Benza.
Benza has drawn comparisons with international examples like Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary who will play at the World Cup at the age of 45 and the legendary Cameroonian striker Roger Milla who also dazzled in his 40s.
Herentals, who are 15th on the log, are hoping to collect as much points as possible in their next two fixtures against Bulawayo City at home and Chapungu in Gweru during Week Seven.