Two-time Fans Choice Player of the Year winner Tino Benza has backed himself to make it into the top three finalists for the Soccer Star of the Year award next season.
The forward picked the inaugural Fans Choice Player of the Year award last year and managed to retain the gong at this year's Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Soccer Star of The Year Awards on Friday.
At the age of just 22, Benza has established himself as a key member of Herentals and one of the exciting forwards on the domestic scene.
Apart from being chosen by the fans as their favourite player this term, he retained his place among the eleven finalists for the Soccer Star of the Year Award.
Goalkeeper Nelson Chadya from league champions Ngezi Platinum Stars is the only other player to keep his place on the calendar.
The 2018 Rookie Of The Year and 2022 Herentals Player Of The says he is enjoying his career at the club - owned by his father Innocent - and sees himself only getting better.
"It feels really great to retain this award (Fans Choice Player of the Year), and I'm thankful to the fans, my team-mates, my coach and my family. It's been a very good journey and a good year for me so I'm really happy," Benza told NewsDay on the sidelines of the glittering awards ceremony on Friday.
"I need to improve more because I have basically sustained what I had last year. Maybe getting into the top three next year would be really good. I'm sure I can do that. It's a huge challenge, and I like challenges," he added.
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Benza enjoyed quite a remarkable season with Herentals, scoring six goals and making 11 assists to guide his side to a sixth place finish on the log standings.
His form saw him being called into the Warriors squad by new coach Baltemar Brito for a friendly match against Botswana in September.
"Training, self motivation and just working hard have kept me going. There are some off days for me when playing football, when things don't go my way but it's normal for footballers to have a bad day so I just keep on going.”