Benjani: Now you will see real me

112202-605_WEST_HAM_SR_10/9/11'Action from  West Ham United vs Pompey at Upton Park.'Benjani.''Picture:Steve Reid 112202-605
112202-605_WEST_HAM_SR_10/9/11'Action from West Ham United vs Pompey at Upton Park.'Benjani.''Picture:Steve Reid 112202-605
Share this article
Pompey deserved their win at Fleetwood, according to Alan Knight. Picture: Mark Robinson

Knight: Well-deserved Pompey win at Fleetwood

Have your say

Benjani Mwaruwari believes the player who became a Pompey hero during his first spell at Fratton Park is ready to be unleashed again.

The veteran striker is convinced he has finally regained his match sharpness.

Now he wants to roll back the years and remind fans what the real Benjani is all about.

The 33-year-old lined-up at West Ham last weekend, turning in an impressive display as the central striker.

That was his first Pompey start since January 30, 2008, when he was in the side who lost 2-0 at Manchester United.

Benjani ended a three-and-a-half year Blues absence by returning to Fratton Park last month as a free agent following his release from Blackburn.

Without a pre-season, the former Zimbabwe international has since been working hard on the training ground to build-up his fitness.

As a result, he had previously been restricted to just three substitute appearances and a behind-closed-doors fixture with Swindon.

The Blues head to Hull this weekend with Benjani expected to keep his starting spot.

And, following his second Pompey debut against West Ham, he is adamant he is now ready to produce his best.

He said: ‘We unfortunately lost at West Ham in my first start – but personally I think I am about there.

‘I didn’t do any pre-season so I have had to be patient with my fitness.

‘Even when I scored a hat-trick against Swindon I could still feel my match fitness wasn’t back. It wasn’t all there for me.

‘But now I am becoming fresher.

‘I felt good in the game against West Ham. I was moving okay and didn’t have any difficulties.

‘It has been very difficult, but that match proved to me I am there now with my fitness and without any niggling injuries.

‘Now you will see the real me, closing players down, running around and scoring some goals.

‘When you are injured or your fitness is not there, you just keep thinking of playing and leaving everything to the man up there (God).

‘Now I am ready, I am there. I just need to get some more games in. So far, so good.’

For a fleeting moment, Benjani believed he had marked his Upton Park appearance with a goal – the stadium announcer certainly thought so.

However, replays showed the 60th-minute goal had already been netted by David Norris, with Benjani following up.

And the striker has no intention of claiming it.

He added: ‘It was Norris’ goal.

‘I was close to the goal and it was already over the line. The referee and linesman had given it.

‘But sometimes in those situations, if nobody follows up it will end up not being a goal.

‘That was the reason I was going for the rebound.

‘I was making sure. I did not want the referee to say it hadn’t gone in.’