HIGHLY-RATED Zimbabwean teenage midfielder Kundai Benyu yesterday made a huge leap in his career when he signed a four-year deal with Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic and become the club’s second signing of the summer.
The 19-year-old playmaker, who was born in England, had attracted the attention of clubs in that country, but Brendan Rodgers has won the race to sign him for a nominal fee on a cross-border deal.
After coming through the Ipswich Academy system, Benyu was sent on loan to Aldershot last season and helped them get to the National League play-offs.
Speaking to the Celtic website, Benyu said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Celtic. It’s a massive honour to sign for the Scottish champions and one of the world’s truly great clubs.
“It’s also a great opportunity for me to continue to develop as a footballer under Brendan Rodgers.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with my new Celtic team-mates.
“I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I am ready for this, I’m looking forward to the challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”
Celtic are one of several clubs to have been keeping tabs on the youngster, with Premier League sides including Tottenham and Aston Villa also quoted as having an interest.
A box-to-box asset, Benyu scored five goals and was a good source for assists as his loan spell at Aldershot brought him both experience and plaudits.
He was one of the players whom Warriors coach Norman Mapeza had targeted for the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia.
Benyu expressed his interest to play for the Warriors and was set to travel to Harare before it was found out his documents could not be sorted in time.
It’s now very likely he could be considered when the AFCON qualifiers resume in March next year.
Benyu joined Ipswich’s academy in 2011 and was on the fringes of the first team at the age of 16.
Having impressed his coaches, gaffer Mick McCarthy promoted him to the first team, putting him on the bench for an East Anglian derby at Carrow Road.
He played alongside another highly-rated Zimbabwean midfielder Tristan Nydam who was recently home on vacation. — Sports Reporter/Daily Record.