Ex-Manchester City striker Benjani Mwaruwari is back at Portsmouth - and relishing reuniting with the Fratton faithful

The Fratton faithful’s affection for Benjani will never diminish.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 11:30 am

Now the former Zimbabwe international is returning to Fratton Park on Friday evening to meet the supporters he shares a lifetime bond with.

Benjani remains an iconic Pompey figure in recognition of two spells totalling 20 goals in 94 appearances.

Similarly, the 43-year-old treasures his time with the Blues, which included the 2006 Great Escape, two hat-tricks and an unusual departure involving a plane flight.

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And the popular striker will be at the Victory Lounge on Friday (November 19) as part of the ‘Better Late Than Never’ Q&A event, which starts at 7.30pm.

The occasion is to mark the publication of 2020 books Played Up Pompey Three and Pompey: The Island City With A Football Club For A Heart.

Unfortunately, the pandemic dictated launch events for both were not possible – until now.

On the evening, Benjani, who appears in both books, will be joined by League Two title-winning skipper Michael Doyle and 1992 FA Cup semi-final captain Martin Kuhl.

Benjani will be meeting fans in the Victory Lounge at Fratton Park on Friday evening. Picture: Barry Zee

Also confirmed for attendance are Dave Munks, Guy Whittingham, Alan Knight, Ray Crawford, Iain McInnes, Barry Harris, Sam Matterface and Ian Darke.

They will be taking part in a two-halved Q&A session with supporters, with Roger Higgins and BBC Radio Solent’s Andy Moon sharing hosting honours.

All will be on hand to autograph copies of the Played Up Pompey series and Pompey: The Island City With A Football Club For A Heart, which will be on sale during the evening.

Free tickets for the event were snapped up four weeks ago, ensuring it should be a full house in the Victory Lounge.

Benjani retired from football in June 2014 and still lives on the south coast

Certainly Benjani, who will be attending with his wife and son, can expect an excellent reception – and a few renditions of the popular song which used to accompany him.

Signed from Auxerre in January 2006 by Harry Redknapp for £4.1m, he established himself as a hard-working, whole-hearted striker, traits adored by supporters.

Crucially, he netted his maiden Pompey goal in the 2-1 triumph at Wigan in April 2006, which sealed a successful fight against Premier League relegation following a remarkable late-season run.

He was sold to Manchester City in January 2008, very much against his wishes, and was replaced by Jermain Defoe.

However, the Zimbabwe striker returned for a second spell under Steve Cotterill in August 2010, before bidding farewell to Fratton Park for good at the season’s end.

Yet on Friday he will return to a club still special to his heart – reuniting with the fans who still hold him in such high regard.

To pre-order Benjani, Doyle and Kuhl signed copies of Played Up Pompey paperback, Played Up Pompey Three and Pompey: The Island City With A Football Club For A Heart, email [email protected]

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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