Benjani - The goal poacher

football16 March 2023 05:00
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Games/Clean sheets
Portsmouth: 70/19
Manchester City: 23/4
Sunderland: 8/0
Blackburn Rovers: 18/3
Premier League titles (0): None

Benjani proved a slow burner in the Premier League but once he found his feet was a fine forward who could be deadly on his day.

He had made his name at Jomo Cosmos, Grasshoppers and Auxerre before joining Portsmouth for the 2005/06 season. He failed to score in his first 14 appearances but finally netted his first goal in a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic which went a long way to keeping Pompey in the topflight.

He netted a hattrick in Portsmouth’s extraordinary 7-4 win over Reading in 2007/08, a scoreline which broke the record for the most goals in a Premier League game.

He may have generally found goals hard to come by, but Benjani was a crowd favourite for his high work-rate and attitude, which saw him give his all for every side he played for.

The Zimbabwe international moved to Manchester City for £3.87-million in early 2008 and scored on debut in a 2-1 win over Manchester United, the perfect way to begin his stay up north.

He never quite settled at City though and left on loan to Sunderland midway through the 2009/10 season, but after failing to find the back of the net was not kept at the Stadium of Light.

Benjani signed as a free agent for Blackburn Rovers in August 2010, the highlight being two goals against Liverpool at Ewood Park in a 3-1 win.

He did not agree terms on a new deal at the end of that season and returned briefly to Portsmouth, now a Championship club. 

There would be a brief return to the South African league with Chippa United in the 2012/13 season, before he later joined BidVest Wits and ended his playing career.