Iceland-based attacking midfielder, Kundai Benyu has surprisingly included in Zimbabwe’s final squad of 23 players for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon despite initially being omitted from the provisional squad.
The 24-year-old England-born player last played for the national team in 2017 when he featured in two friendly matches against Lesotho and Namibia while still part of the Ipswich Town Academy.
Once regarded as one of the country’s brightest prospects from the Zimbabwean diaspora community after being signed by Scottish giants Celtic 2017, Benyu struggled to make an impact under the then club’s manager Brendan Rodgers, now at Leicester City.
Benyu eventually left Celtic to join English fifth tier side Wealdstone on a free transfer in October 2020 after loan spells at Helsingborg in Sweden and League One outfit Oldham Athletic.
He now plays for Icelandic second-tier side Vestri, making 17 appearances in the 2021 season as he continues to rebuild his career.
He was not in the provisional squad of 30 announced on 21 December but coach Norman Mapeza has decided to add him to the final list of players to represent the country at the Afcon tournament.
— Zimbabwe Football Association (@online_zifa) December 29, 2021
While the Warriors, who have been training in Harare since Boxing Day depart for Cameroon today (Wednesday), Benyu, together with Tino Kadewere, Jordan Zemura, Admiral Muskwe, David Moyo and captain Knowledge Musona will link up with the team in the West African country.
FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari headlines a small group of only four locally based players who have been included in the squad.
The others include Highlander’s defender Peter Muduhwa, Dynamos utility player Godknows Murwira and FC Platinum midfielder Kelvin Madzongwe.
Former Highlanders striker Knox Mutizwa, who has been enduring a difficult season at South African club Golden Arrows is the most notable absentee from the final squad.
Also dropped from the squad of 30 are Tapiwa Sibanda, Frank Makarati, Taimon Mvula, Temptation Chiwunga, Bill Antonio, Panashe Mutimbanyoka and Shepherd Mhlanga.
The squad departs this afternoon and will have five-day training camp in the Cameroon capital, Yaounde.
Zimbabwe’s first match will be against Senegal on January 10.
They will also play Guinea and Malawi from their Pool.
GOALKEEPERS: Petros Mhari, Martin Mapisa, Talbert Shumba
DEFENDERS: Peter Muduhwa, Alec Mudimu, Teenage Hadebe, Jordan Zemura, Godknows Murwira, Gerald Takwara, Gilroy Chimwemwe, Bruce Kangwa, Onismor Bhasera
MIDFIELDERS: Kelvin Madzongwe, Thabani Kamusoko, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Ishmael Wadi, Never Tigere, Kundai Benyu
STRIKERS: Admiral Muskwe, Prince Dube, David Moyo, Knowledge Musona, Tinotenda Kadewere