Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Benjani goes

Benjani Mwaruwari has left City in much the same way as he arrived: in a hasty move at the end of the January window, mired in confusion and administrative incompetence, eventually allowed to pass by Premier League officials with a nod and a wink, as a team whose season promised so much in the autumn desperately tries to improve its goal threat to rescue its rapidly deteriorating season.

So it was in January 2008 with us, and so it is with Sunderland now. Benjani is only at the Stadium of Light on loan, but as his contract expires in the summer we can safely say that he has pulled on the sky blue jersey for the last time.

His stay at City has been mixed. He was unfortunate, perhaps, that his finest moment in blue - in fact, one of the most momentous goals in recent MCFC history, came in just his second game. It was the February 2008 Old Trafford derby, the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. City were 1-0 up just before half time, and Martin Petrov swung the ball in from wide. Benjani jumped to head it, and though he failed in that attempt, the ball struck his shoulder and carried past Edwin van der Sar into the net. Not exactly Tueart's overhead kick, but meaningful all the same.

We won the game 2-1, and it is a shame that Benjani could not use the goal as a springboard to greater things. Unfortunately for him his leaden feet and his failure to understand the offside rule meant that he could never quite become the striker we wanted him to be. Or maybe he was overwhelmed by that goal off his shoulder and knew he could never repeat it. He went on to score five more goals in his remaining 22 games in 2008, before only managing three appearances in all of 2009. There was a brief return under Roberto Mancini in 2010, as he played five games and scored our only goal in the Cup game at the Riverside. In so doing he absolved himself - and Martin Petrov who set him up - of the shame of the 8-1 loss there in May 2008, in which he played thirteen minutes before being replaced by Nery 'el Diablo' Castillo.

Good luck at Sunderland Benji.


Billy_Azul said...

sure the derby was his debut.

seeya benji, not good enough but a likable player.

my money's on spanish gaz being the last man standing of svennis' boys.

trinder said...

That's a good summary Jack. I thought then that we paid Portsmouth way too much for him and I've seen nothing to change my mind. It's more than apt that his finest moment was a bungled attempt on goal.

Billy, you're going to be right. Are there only two left now?

Eastlands = Heaven said...

ye just him and petrov left I think. Hope we keep hold of petrov but if he is to go it better be abroad!

Blue Moon said...

I love Benjani -- not the most talented player in the world, does things that make you scratch your head, but he is a trier and seems like a nice guy. Never heard him complain about not getting enough playing time, and the way Mancini talked about his movement during the window indicates that the boss thinks very well of him. Love to see him score a bunch as I love his "pointing" celebration .

jackblue said...

there are still 4 of 'svennis' boys' Petrov, Garrido, Caicedo, and Boj.

wizzballs said...

I'll never forget that performance against Blackburn. for 75 minutes he fulfilled every bit of promise. unfortunately he returned to type in the following weeks.

I like his game attitude and ability to make good runs and his touch isn't as bad as people make out, but really, he's the Footballing equivalent of your labrador-retriever... a bit slow and dull, but he'll chase the ball all day with a big grin on his face

Anonymous said...

You really have to ask yourself how much Sven benefitted from the over valuation of players that came in through the door during his reign. £8m for Benjani, £18m for Jo. Was Sven doing a Cloughie and sealing deals in motorway service stations perhaps?

And Jack, please get over your apparent obsession with the 8-1 defeat at Middlesbore.

Blue Roo said...

@Billy_Azul You're right mate, it was his debut.

Thanks Benji for your goals at Vermin Towers and Schalke, but I'd be a happy man if I never saw the Offside Smiler in a City shirt again.

Miss jane said...