The Sunday Mail
Herentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Chapungu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
SOME said he was a joke, a man who desperately wanted the limelight, but Innocent Benza is defying critics at the ripe old age of 46.
The Herentals owner and striker scored his maiden Castle Lager Premier Soccer League goal at Rufaro and spurned the perfect opportunity to hit back at his critics.
Benza refused to face the media.
He drove away without the bragging expected from a man who had just become the Premiership’s oldest scorer.
“For him, the football does the talking,” said the Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva.
Benza neatly controlled a Brighton Majarira cross before firing home with just two minutes remaining.
This was the goal the Herentals fans had been praying for and they celebrated it like a blessing from the heavens.
Unfortunately, their celebrations were cut short as right on 90 minutes Carlos Mavhurume beat his goalkeeper in a desperate bid to clear an Ian Nyoni cross.
But Mutiwekuziva was not complaining about failing to see the game over the line, he had something he needed to get off his chest.
“We have been persecuted for Benza’s inclusion in the team but today he has proven the critics wrong, justifying his inclusion in the team.
“It was only a matter of time before he scored, we have always believed in him, to me it was a great goal,” he said.
Chapungu coach Rodwell Dhlakama also said Benza scored a great goal.
“To be honest I never expected him to score but nevertheless, it was great goal from him.
“We came here looking for a good result, but unfortunately I think with the travelling and the midweek fixtures, my players failed to adapt and it affected our play. With our current position on the log, it’s a disappointing result,” said Dhlakama.
The match started off on a high tempo which saw the hosts piling pressure on the visitors to force a corner kick in the first minute.
After a few raids by either side in the first ten minutes, the two coaches switched to a defensive approach, congesting the midfield and no meaningful chance was created in the first half.
Five minutes after the break, Warriors midfielder Richard Hachiro had an opportunity to put the hosts in the lead but shot wide from a good position.
Then came the Benza moment — a cross by Majarira controlled by the chest, before unleashing a rising shot past Talbert Shumba.
But just when it looked like Herentals would cap it all with a win, Mavhurume beat his own goalkeeper.
Innocent Benza, take a bow; for your life begins at 46, not 40 as they claimed before you came along.
Herentals FC: F Kuchineyi, T Chitukutuku (B Majarira 50’), C Mavhurume, P Chota, W Chimbetu, I Benza, B Maunganidze, R Hachiro, T Benza (E Feremba 62’) , B Majarira.
Chapungu: T Shumba, E Chiatauro, H Mugoniwa, B Mbavarira, C Kwaramba, M Muchangami, E Chirape ( M Mavuto 56’) E Muzanenhamo, C Rupiya, , P Marufu (I Nyoni 15’), R Manuvire ( A Tavarwisa 70).