HONOURABLE Innocent Benza believes his Premier Soccer League project Herentals College played a big part in his success on the political arena after he secured a seat in the National Assembly.
Benza, who was on the Zanu-PF ticket, was declared winner of the Mutasa Central constituency after polling 13 717 votes against 9 781 for CCC candidate, Dixon Chekeche.
In the process, Benza wrestled the constituency from the opposition which had been in control since 2008, and most recently for two terms through Trevor Saruwaka of the MDC-Alliance.
Benza (51) became the first active footballer to be elected into Parliament and he celebrated his victory by featuring in his side’s 1-1 draw against in-form Manica Diamonds in a Castle Lager Premiership match on Sunday.
Apart from running the Premier League club, Benza’s Herentals Group of Colleges also takes care of a ladies team who are the reigning champions in the Women’s Super League, a Northern Region Division One side, two sides which are battling in the different third tier regions and several non- football sport codes.
Benza told Zimpapers Sports that he is still thinking of ways to salute Mutasa Central community for trusting him to be their voice and hailed his team for their continued support.
“I want to thank God for this privilege and it’s a moment which I’m going to celebrate for a long time.
“This was also a big win for Herentals Group of College because without this project, I do not know where exactly I could have been. It has taught me to be more responsible and being an open minded person.
“I know what this task means to me and I’m not going to disappoint those who have passed me the torch.”
On the issue of becoming the first active footballer to win a parliamentary seat, Benza said:
“I’m not chasing after these records but they are coming naturally and I also do not know when it is going to end but truly speaking, our game against Manica Diamonds (the first after the elections) just gave me a different feeling.
“There was a lot of excitement and everyone in our camp seem to be happy because of this milestone, Herentals is not just a team but it is a movement and such success can be expected when you are surrounded by positive people,” said Benza.
“This is huge for me, my family, friends and everyone who made this possibly. I do not know how to thank this good people for embracing my vision and nothing exceeds being shown such love by your people.”