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Tino Benza's big dream

The Flying Elephant was also 17, when he became the youngest scorer in the top flight after scoring Highlanders’ second goal in the tie against Dynamos in 1990 at the national Sports Stadium.

At the age of 17 Tinotenda Benza announced his arrival among the big boys of the local Premiership with a bang, breaking a long held record by the most celebrated Warrior of all-time Peter Ndlovu.

The Flying Elephant was also 17, when he became the youngest scorer in the top flight after scoring Highlanders’ second goal in the tie against Dynamos in 1990 at the national Sports Stadium.

Although the match ended 2-2, Ndlovu had etched his name in Zimbabwean football folklore.

Ndlovu’s record stood for close to three decades before it was smashed by Benza 28 years later.

The Herentals starlet was 17 when he broke the long standing record scoring the solitary goal for Herentals to help his team beat then title chasing Ngezi Platinum Stars by one nil.

Ironically the record was broken at the National Sports Stadium.

He wrote his own piece of history by becoming the youngest scorer in the premier league in the process ending the long standing record by the Flying Elephant.

So good was Tino that in the same year he was voted the Rookie Player of the Castle Lager Premier League at the end of the season.

And ever since he announced his arrival on the Premier League stage, Benza has not looked back, instead he has shown a steady progress over the years becoming a better player by each passing year.

His progress and growth have seen him being named the fans favourite while he has his name engraved among the top 11 players on land in 2022 and 2023.

In 2022 the young Benza was named the Chibuku Super Cup golden boot winner

And for the progress he has made since making his Premier league debut in 2018, Tino attributes it to hard work.

“I think it is all about the hard work we put in as a team.

“Our values as a team are based on hard work. That is why you have seen the team doing well over the years. It's not about me but the team as whole,” Benza said.

The 22-year old forward's consistency on the field of play and his nomination on the best eleven players on the land for two years has been finally rewarded with a national team call for the upcoming Cosafa Cup.

Just like another player wearing the national team jersey is a dream of many.

“It is every player's dream to represent his country and being given the opportunity to represent my country at the upcoming Cosafa Cup is a great honor for me, my family and team,” he said.

In years gone by Benza has featured for the Zimbabwe Under-17s squad at the Cosafa Championship in Seychelles six years ago  while he has been awarded the armband at Herentals FC for the current season.

As a player, Benza has shared the dressing room with his father Innocent Benza, a thing he describes as the best moment in his career revealing how his father has pushed him.

“It is one of the best moments of my playing career to share the dress room with my father," he said.

“And watching him put the hard work he does in training really motivates me to go an extra mile and push more

“My father is my role model.”

Having scored seven goals and making 10 assists last season, Benza who has already made five assists and a one goal this season to help his side record a nine match unbeaten streak has set himself a target of doing better than last season

“My target is to do better than I did last year and hopefully to make my name on the best 11 and be among the top three,” he added.

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