News Live Scores
Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Zimbabwe should be taken seriously after toe to toe display against Senegal – Benyu

12:39 GMT+3 12/01/2022
Sadio Mane of Senegal challenged by Leroy Benyu of Zimbabwe.
The 24-year-old midfielder feels the Warriors deserved to get something from their opening defeat against the Lions of Teranga

Zimbabwe midfielder Kundai Benyu believes they should be taken seriously at the Africa Cup of Nations after their strong display against Senegal in the Group B opener on Monday.

The Warriors, who are making their third consecutive appearance in the competition in Cameroon, their fifth overall, but are yet to make it past the group stage, troubled the Lions of Teranga at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium before a late strike broke their hearts.

It was Liverpool winger Sadio Mane who stepped up in stoppage time to convert from the penalty spot and end the Warrior’s fight in the fixture.

The 24-year-old Benyu, who grew up in Harlow, Essex, and currently features for Icelandic side Vestri FC, is confident the performance they put up against “tournament favourites” Senegal deserved to give them something from the game.

“I thought it went well, we kept them to minimal chances for most of the game and we also had a couple of chances ourselves,” Benyu said as quoted by Zimbabwe's social media pages.

“We showed that we also are to be taken seriously. We went toe to toe with one of the tournament favourites and if it wasn’t for a penalty in the last seconds of the game we would’ve taken a point so everyone should hold their heads high and be proud and move on to the next game with the same mentality.”

On the injury he sustained against Senegal, Benyu said: “Right now I am in pain but I and the physios are in agreement that it’s not the most serious injury.

“We’ll try to recover as quickly as possible and see how I am in the next couple of days to hopefully be ready for the Malawi game and so on.”

Benyu made his full international debut for Zimbabwe in a 1-0 defeat to Lesotho in Maseru on November 8, 2017.

Meanwhile, defender Teenage Hadebe, who turns out for Major Soccer League club Houston Dynamo said on losing to Senegal: “We tried our best to get a result but it did not work out.

“I think we were unlucky in some moments, but I am proud of the team's performance. We need to convert our chances in order to win games.”

The Warriors will return to action on Friday against Malawi before they finish their group phase matches with a date against Guinea on January 18.