Herentals owner Innocent Benza has responded to claims that he influence the team selection.

In an interview with The Herald, the 45-year-old said the coach is the one who selects the first XI and make his own substitutions. Benza has been under fire for costing the team because his presence in the team was not contributing anything.

He plays as a playmaker, a vital role in the attack, and at times he fails to match the tempo of the game thereby interrupting the flow of play.

“Like any other professional team, our coach retains the full liberty to select his first choice players and make his own substitutions,” said Benza.

“It is wrongly perceived that I (influence) the coach because of my dual role as a player and team owner. A very difficult situation indeed to prove but it should be known that coach (Kumbirai) Mutiwekuziva is a strong-willed coach who is not easily led.”

Asked if he was taking advantage of being the owner, Benza said:

“I seriously cannot misconstrue passion to be anything close to taking advantage. My responsibilities as the owner of the team and as a field player are clear cut and completely divorced.

“It is only my unmatched love of the game, my abilities to still play at this age that keeps me in the game now and that will keep me for the seasons to come,’’ he added.