LONDON — Benjani Mwaruwari has delivered an emotional goodbye to fans of English League One side Portsmouth and vowed: “I’ve had the best times of my career with you.”
The huge Blues favourite has spoken of his special bond with the Fratton faithful after his departure from the club.
He said: “The times at Pompey were the best for me. It’s sad to be going and, of course, it’s hard to leave.
“But my time at Portsmouth has come to an end.
“It’s hard to leave any team, but Portsmouth isn’t just any team to me.
“I’ve never been anything but happy at Portsmouth.
“It’s been a hard season for everyone at the club and these are hard times.
“For me the fans are the key to the club and everything that happens.
“So it’s tough to see them going through a difficult time, for me.
“It’s hard for the players, but I feel more for the fans than I do the rest of the team.
“But I have so much love for the fans, and I want them to know that.”
The striker recently brought his second stint with Pompey to a close, after being told he was being released.
Benjani made 17 appearances last season, scoring a single goal after a surprise comeback.
It proved to be a difficult spell for the Zimbabwe international, with his time on the south coast interrupted by knee problems, while he was rarely used after Michael Appleton’s arrival.
That failed to take the shine off a special connection the 33-year-old has built with fans, though, following his first two-year stint at Pompey which ended in 2008.
Benjani’s industrious efforts went down a storm with supporters, and the hitman admitted that cemented an emotional connection in his finest playing days.
Benjani recently returned home to Zimbabwe for his testimonial which attracted a host of top African stars.
He feels he is over the injuries which hindered him in his second stint at Pompey.
The former £4.4m signing from Auxerre in 2006 is now weighing up whether to play on or hang up his boots.
Benjani said: ‘The injuries are fine and I feel good.
“If you don’t play for a long time, like last season, it is always going to be difficult. As a player, though, you take it as it comes.
“It was a hard time for me last season and it was difficult, but that is life.
“At the moment, I don’t know whether I’m going to play on. I’m looking for a club, but if it
doesn’t happen I will find something else to do.”