HomeSportSoccer‘Blackburn Rovers stopped me from quitting game’ — Benjani

‘Blackburn Rovers stopped me from quitting game’ — Benjani

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Benjani believes he owes Blackburn Rovers for saving his career after admitting he was ready to quit the game less than six months ago.

The Zimbabwean striker scored his first two-goal haul in more than three years in Wednesday night’s 3-1 drubbing of Liverpool as he took a huge stride towards proving his doubters wrong.

The 32-year-old has been plagued by injury ever since moving from Portsmouth to Manchester City for around £4 million back in 2008 — scoring just once in the previous two years before his midweek heroics.

After 23 Premier League appearances and four goals, Benjani was released as a free agent this summer, with no takers until Sam Allardyce took the gamble on the striker.

He said: “Sometimes a team takes a chance on you and you need to pay them back and now I am starting to give back to the team.

“If you don’t have any club who wants you, even though we have been calling the leagues all over the world, then you might think my career is finished.

“Luckily I ended up signing here and I will fight hard to make an impact. Of course it was a horrible feeling.”
He was even put through a two-week trial with Blackburn Rovers as former boss Sam Allardyce sought to be convinced his knee problems were over, before snapping him up on a 12-month deal.

“The hard times that you go through, if you have moments like this then you forget about all that and concentrate on the next game,” he said.

“I don’t fear anything. I have played around the world for almost 12 years. I am lucky anyway so if I get the chance I will fight hard to play but if I don’t I’m just thankful for what I have had.

“Everyone has to stop sometime — just not yet. I am still fighting. When you score goals it always feels good. I always believe I am getting there and if I can stay fit and stay on top of my game, I always have something good to give.”

Rovers’ new owners have already attempted to sign AC Milan’s Ronaldinho and LA Galaxy’s David Beckham, with the striker insisting it can only be good for the future.

He said: “Always it is a good thing to try and bring players like Ronaldinho and Beckham to Blackburn. You can see the owners are looking to build this club. If that happens we will all be happy.

“Everyone was shocked and didn’t even know who the owners are but now they are shocking again but with some good things.”

Meanwhile boss Steve Kean paid tribute to his two-goal striker, saying: “He showed strength and awareness. His overall hold-up play was good.

“He has had a tough time through injury and we felt maybe a few weeks ago he wasn’t fit enough to last.

We put him in gradually but he showed on Wednesday, up until hitting a little bit of a wall in the last 10 minutes, he is ready and has a big impact to give the team. He is a great player and Benjani and Mame Diouf gave Liverpool’s defenders a really tough night. That can only be good for us.”

— Lancashire Telegraph

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