Benjani Mwaruwari at Manchester City

Why Benjani Mwaruwari rues his Manchester City move

Home » Why Benjani Mwaruwari rues his Manchester City move

Benjani Mwaruwari saw the dawn of a new era at Manchester City. An era that, over the last decade and a half, has translated to total dominance by the Citizens.

For him, however, those years at City were the start of his twilight, as a career that had taken him around the globe finally began winding down.

Those days came after a fruitful stint with Portsmouth FC. At Pompey, after some initial problems, Mwaruwari took to life in the English Premiership like a duck to water.


“Life in Portsmouth was great. Even though I had a slow start, I started to score after that. When you’re scoring as a striker, your life becomes nicer.

“Life starts to be good again. So I loved my time at Portsmouth, especially with the fans, they are amazing, and when I wasn’t playing as well, they would sing my name,” he tells SN24.

His next stint would be the start of a beautiful era for Man City and an anti-climax of the well-travelled footballer’s career.

“The new owners came at Man City with big ambitions, and at the time I was injured, a layoff for a year and age was catching up, too many injuries in the body, and then I moved to Blackburn and stayed there for a year and then back to Portsmouth and stayed for a year,” Mwaruwari tells SN24.

Somehow, the former Zimbabwe captain rues that move simply because it denied him the one chance he had to snatch the golden boot ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba, the two other frontrunners in that race.

Benjani Mwaruwari Portsmouth unveiling
PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 06: New record signing Zimbabwe international Benjani Mwaruwari (C) is brought in as a surprise at the end of the press conference to meet Russian millionaire Alexandre Gaydamak (L) the new co-owner of Portsmouth FC during the Portsmouth FC press conference at Fratton Park on January 6, 2006 in Portsmouth, England (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

With Mwaruwari at the top of the scoring charts by the middle of the 2007-08 season, it would not be long before other sides came calling, with the ambitious City making a deadline day move.
Like all his transfers, there would be a bit of drama to spice up the occasion.


“The City move, I remember we played against Manchester and beat them 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. On our flight back, I remember Harry [Redknapp] saying, ‘something might happen tomorrow, so don’t switch off your phone as we try to work out something.

“In my mind, I’m thinking tomorrow is deadline day and nothing is going to happen. I switched off my phone the whole morning. I received a call on the landline and was told the deal was on. So that thing happened over the phone because there was no time.

“One thing I remember is I pushed Man City to the last limit. At some point, I thought they were trying me to see if I am loyal to Portsmouth.” 12 hours before the window closed, he was still in Portsmouth. Yet he was supposed to go and do his medicals in Manchester.

“I was scheduled to arrive in Manchester around 6 pm. They started to phone me, and I told them there was a flight delay because of the weather.

“They made up a story that I fell asleep and missed my flight. There was drama, there was no time for medicals. So we discussed the deal, the deal had to be sealed. Afterwards, we sent the papers to the FA to notify them that the value is complete,” says Mwaruwari, who hung his boots in 2014.

He believes the switch, which seemed to catch everyone unaware, including Mwaruwari, killed his goal-scoring momentum.


“They killed my momentum and took my goals, I was going to score 20 goals if I had stayed at Pompey.
“In fact, I was the leading top scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals at Portsmouth. I was above Ronaldo, who had eight at the time, and above Drogba at that time.”

Arriving in a star-studded City, he needed to start creating an understanding with his new teammates.
His debut came in the Derby against Manchester United, where he opened his goal-scoring account for the Citizens.

“I could’ve carried on and played better, but I only scored three goals in 14 games,” he says.

The 45-year-old, who later had stints with Chippa United and Bidvest Wits, capped off a largely successful career. He holds a UEFA A Coaching License and has previously been in charge of a Zimbabwean club, Ngezi Platinum.

He was also an assistant coach for the Zimbabwe national team before they were slapped with a FIFA ban.

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