New Zimbabwe.com

Larsson hails England-born Zim prodigy Kundai Benyu

By Sports Reporter

SWEDISH football legend Henrik Larsson has hailed England-born Zimbabwe international Kundai Benyu who he netted his first goal for Swedish topflight club Helsingborgs side.

The 21-year-old Zimbabwe international midfielder is on a season-long loan in Sweden with Larsson’s club.

Benyu made his first start for Helsingborg this weekend against Falkenberg and he repaid the faith that Larsson showed in him by going on to score a goal.

And the legendary Helsingborg manager Larsson, who played for top clubs such as Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United, was thrilled.

“He was very, very good and showed why he is a Celtic player,” Larsson said in an interview with The Scottish Sun.

“He’s had some problems with fitness, but his movement and finish was superb.

“He’s confident on the ball and helps us out both in attack and defence. So we are delighted that we’ve got him.

“I expect him to kick on from his first start and first goal.”

Benyu was delighted at netting his opening goal and hopes it will give him the confidence in the future.

He said: “It’s not been easy for me so far at the club, but this goal means a lot and will give me plenty of confidence in the future.

“I want to try and make an impression here.”

Benyu joined the Celtic in 2017 from English club Ipswich Town after being signed by the club’s former coach Brendan Rodgers, who is now at Leicester City.

He however struggled to make an instant impact at Celtic after making four appearances in his first season — two from the bench — before being shipped out on loan to Oldham Athletic for the second half of the season.

Benyu will be hoping to use his loan spell in Sweden to gain more experience at the highest level and develop his craft with a view to possibly breaking into the Celtic first-team by next season.

Should he impress, Celtic should certainly look at integrating him back into the first-team ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Neil Lennon’s Celtic side got their 2019/20 season off to the best possible start with a 7-0 victory over St Johnstone on Saturday.

The Hoops, as Celtic are affectionately known, will be looking to win a ninth successive Scottish Premiership title this season.

Benyu was born to Zimbabwean parents on 12 December 1997 in Camden Town, London and grew up in Harlow, Essex.

He came through the ranks at English Football League Championship side Ipswich Town before joining National League side Aldershot on loan in December 2016.

The winger played 22 times for the Shots, as Aldershot are affectionately known, scoring five goals in an impressive spell that persuaded Celtic to sign the 20-year-old on a four-year deal in June 2017.

Benyu’s impressive performances earned him international recognition, receiving a call-up from Zimbabwe for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia although he didn’t feature in the tie due to complications in securing his local passport.

He made his full international Zimbabwe debut in a 1-0 defeat to Lesotho in an international friendly Maseru on 8 November 2017.