Senegal and Doncaster Rovers striker El Hadji Diouf lit up the National Sports Stadium yesterday when he performed the famous “Zorai Butter” dance after scoring for the Friends of Benjani, albeit fighting a losing cause as his side fell down 7-4 to the Zimbabwe Warriors during Benjani Mwaruwari’s testimonial match.
Although the crowd had already warmed up to Diouf’s flicks and feints in the first half, the two-time African Footballer of the Year produced an intimate moment with the fans when he performed what has become a signature rendition for local football supporters.
A Takesure Chinyama brace and a goal each by Knowledge Musona, Mwaruwari, Archford Gutu, and Terrence Mandaza as well as a penalty by Tapiwa Kapini carried the day for the Warriors.
Mwaruwari was to score again in the second half but this time for his friends whom he turned out for in the second half.
Also stealing the limelight was seven-year-old Benjani Jr who grabbed a brace for his father’s friends after just playing for the final 13 minutes.
The 40 000 appreciative crowd erupted into a delirium as Mwaruwari handed over the armband to his son who did not disappoint by scoring two gifted goals by Kapini.
The Warriors started the match on high tempo, threatening to go on a rampage when Musona fired past Belgian international Glenn Verbewel just after 120 seconds, before Mwaruwari doubled the lead seven minutes later.
But the locals, who went for the break leading 4-0 and seemingly fighting to impress coach Rahman Gumbo, eventually cooled down in the second match to offer the match its testimonial purpose.
An emotional Mwaruwari saluted fans for thronging the giant stadium to help him celebrate his career.
“This day means a lot to me. It is a very special day because everyone was behind me. I always knew that people would come in their numbers and support me but honestly speaking, I did not expect this kind of an electric atmosphere,” said Benjani.
Yesterday’s match officially marked the end of Mwaruwari’s illustrious career with the Warriors with whom he is capped 44 times.
Warriors legendary striker Peter Ndlovu also took part in Mwaruwari’s testimonial as he came in as a second half substitute for the star select team.
Meanwhile, Southern Region veterans beat their Northern Region counterparts 3-2 in a curtain raiser match before the main testimonial game.
Former Highlanders midfielder Richard Choruma struck twice for the Southern veterans and Gift Lunga (jr) weighed in with another goal, while Gilbert Mushangazhike and Dynamos coach Kallisto Pasuwa scored for the Northern Region.