Is Benjani not celebrated enough in Zimbabwe?


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One of Zimbabwean football’s greatest exports, Benjani Mwaruwari, a man we fondly refer to as The Undertaker- is a legend in Zimbabwean football.

By Lawrence Mangenje

Mwaruwari’s glittering career as a player, spanning over two decades, saw him rub shoulders with the world’s finest in the English Premier League and French Ligue 1 as well as in Switzerland.

He is widely celebrated in the city of Manchester, a place he called home for a year while turning out for English giants Manchester City.

It was Benjani, whose goal in the Manchester derby in June 2008, propelled the Citizens to their first win over their rivals United at Old Trafford, since 1974.

He even says they assigned bodyguards after the game.

Mwaruwari is loved in Manchester, so much so that former City captain Vincent Kompany, invited him to his testimonial match, which was graced by legends of the club.

In Zimbabwe though, a country where he is supposed to be cherished and distinguished, Benjani doesn’t seem to get such treatment.

For a man who was only the second-ever player to captain the Warriors at the Afcon finals, when he led Charles Mlauri’s charges in the 2006 edition in Egypt, Benjani deserves better.

Some fans were laughing their heads off on social media after listening to The Undertaker’s first post-match interview as head coach of Ngezi Platinum Stars.

While opinions differ, there is no doubt that good English does not always translate to intelligence and by now Zimbabweans, after some of the eloquent clowns we have had in this country, ought to be aware of that.

Lionel Messi does not even speak English, but he is one of if not the greatest ever play to step on a football pitch.

Why and how Zimbabweans expect one of their own, to speak perfect English in a country where the language is just the second, is just mind-blogging.

Well before that regrettable reaction to his interview, the feedback to the news that he was not allowed to sit on the Madamburo bench due to him not having the required CAF A license, reflects a weird pull him down tendency we have created a third hand to embrace, as a people.

People reacted to the news with delight as if they couldn’t wait for him to stumble in his new role, instead of appreciating that one of our own has decided to share his vast knowledge of the game, with young players.