AFCON star Kundai Benyu expresses disappointment over 2020 Celtic exit

By David Walton

January 10, 2022

Former Celtic midfielder Kundai Benyu has opened up on the manner of his Parkhead exit as he expressed his disappointment.

Benyu was signed by Brendan Rodgers back in the summer of 2017 after the invincible campaign. At the time he was a highly-regarded 19-year-old who had just impressed on a season-long loan with Aldershot.

Unfortunately however, Benyu never made the impact we all would’ve hoped. The player made 4 appearances in his debut campaign before being shipped out on loan moves to Oldham Athletic and Helsingborgs respectively.

Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Benyu left when his contract ran out in 2020 and joined non-league Wealdstone. Now plying his trade in Iceland with Vestri, he’s part of the Zimbabwe squad for the ongoing AFCON tournament. And as he spoke about his time leaving Parkhead, it’s clear it’s left a bitter taste in his mouth.

As quoted by the Daily Mail, Benyu said: “How do I explain it? The way I found out wasn’t the best of ways to be honest. It wasn’t even Neil that told me. It was two guys that I’d never met before in my whole life at Celtic. To this day I still don’t know who they are or what they do at the club. They just came in and told me you’re going to have to train with the kids until this is all resolved.

“They didn’t mean the reserves as well. Literally kids: Under 14s, Under 15s. As you could imagine that was my last day ever going into Lennoxtown.’

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“I found it difficult at the start because it was quite raw leaving Celtic. That was always on my mind. At the start of the pandemic I didn’t want to know about football. I’d left, I had no club, was just sitting at home every day, waiting for a phone call. I had nowhere to train, just trying to go on runs by myself in the park or whatever. There’s only so much you can do before it starts to get frustrating and messes with your mind a little bit. You start thinking you’re not good enough, no one wants you.”

Kundai Benyu just wasn’t at the right quality for Celtic

It’s important to remember the talent that was ahead of Benyu throughout the time he was at the club. An attacking midfielder himself, that put him up against the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic, and David Turnbull respectively.

The fact the Zimbabwean didn’t manage to impress in either of his loan spells didn’t help him either. There was no reason for the Celtic supporters or the club to believe he had improved his game. Nothing to go on whatsoever.

In the end, it was no surprise when the midfielder left. It was hardly done in a high-profile manner either. Many had probably long since forgotten him in truth. Whether it could’ve been done in a classier manner will be up for debate.

Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

It’s of course pleasing to see Benyu enjoying his football again. Plying his trade in Iceland’s top tier may not be where he imagined himself at 24. Even so, he’ll be counting his blessings he still has a prolonged career in the game.

With regards to his AFCON campaign, it kicked off this afternoon in a 1-0 loss to Senegal. Benyu started the contest but came off on 71 minutes after putting in a hard-working display without any cutting edge.

It’ll be intriguing to see if he can make an impact in the coming days, with 2 more group stage games remaining for his country.

In other news, The 3-game opportunity that could showcase Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic progress