Former Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwaris future at English Championship (first division) football side Portsmouth is in doubt after Pompey manager Michael Appleton made a veiled indication that the robust striker was excess baggage.
Along with Nigerian legend Nwankwo Kanu, Mwaruwari was told by Appleton that they were free to leave the club between now and the end of the season. Mwaruwaris contract expires at the end of the season.
The imminent departure of the two African icons at the Blues follows the exit of Erik Huseklepp, Liam Lawrence, Hayden Mullins and Stephen Henderson during the emergency loan window as the club battles to cut costs.
The Portsmouth News quoted Appleton saying Mwaruwari and Kanu could leave Fratton Park since they were not commanding first team jerseys.
I think, from our point of view, its one of them where, if they (players) dont see themselves in and around the squad then obviously theyve got that option (to leave).
I cant see there being a big queue to take up that type of option. But if they did then, obviously, they know weve got people who are willing to come to fight the cause for the football club.
At the end of the day, you just cant cancel someones contract. Theyre the ones who have got to agree and probably do the pushing and show themselves, so to speak.
If that did come, then the club would be in a situation where they would have to listen because were not in a great state financially, Appleton said.
On Mwaruwari in particular, Appleton said: From Benjis point of view, hes been involved enough, come off the bench enough to ask questions on why he might not get a start.
Portsmouth have been struggling in business after going into administration twice this year.
Reacting to the news, club fans showed mixed feelings over the Pompey bosss statements.
Signing Benji was a massive PR stunt by the previous coach at the time and deflected criticism away from him, but sadly were paying the price for that bit of business now, noted Grover Blue.
Scooby Doo thinks Benjani and Kanu dont even train and would rather have at Pompey for now, someone who is actually playing for his money, albeit too much money for this club, rather than those that dont even train or in this country right now.
Mwaruwari is set to host a testimonial match in May which will include among other legends Kanu, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Emmanuel Adebayor, El Hadji Diouf, Christopher Samba, Aaron Mokoena, Steven Pienaar and Chelsea star Michael Essien.
Mwaruwari has not hidden the fact that he might be interested in ending his career in South Africa or back home, but has already started preparing for life as a coach once he hangs up his boots.