BY Kevin Mapasure
Benjani Mwaruwari might not have enjoyed the most glittering of careers at Manchester City, but one thing he was revered for was rising to the occasion on the grand stage.
On Wednesday night he stole the glory on the big stage of Vincent Kompany’s testimonial match after he headed a stunning equaliser for the Manchester City legends a minute before full time in a match against Premier League All Stars.
He had the Etihad Stadium singing his name once again following the goal and his famous celebration, which was made popular when he scored against City’s adversaries Manchester United at Old Trafford on debut, of pointing at the fans to show his love for them.
Current Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, who never coached Benjani after he arrived at the club when the former Warriors captain had long gone, was clearly delighted with the strike as he sat next to the injured Kompany who failed to play in his own testimonial.
One could have missed Benjani spotting a shaven head after doing away with his trademark dreadlocks, but he was unmissable with his strength in the air after he outdid Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher to node home.
The Manchester City legends were trailing 2-1 having gone in front with a Martin Petrov goal before Robie Kean equalised for the Premier League All Stars following a move that involved Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Robin Van Persie.
Van Persie then thrust the Premier League All Stars ahead and they looked well on course to win it until Benjani intervened.
Benjani was introduced on 71 minutes, replacing Shaun Wright Philips and he made a telling contribution to have the final say on the grand occasion.
The 41-year-old who played for various teams in the Premier League had a knack of rising on big occasions in his career.
He handed Liverpool a 4-1 defeat when he was at Portsmouth at Anfield as well as for Blackburn Rovers against the same opponents, this time finishing off on the winning side as his brace ensured a 3-1 win.
But his most popular moment in English football was his debut for Manchester City in the Manchester derby where he scored the winner for his team.
It was that goal which made him one of the City favourites with the fans, although he went on to score just three more goals for the club after 23 appearances.