Harare City midfielder Moses Muchenje has broken ranks with many critics by saying that ageless Herentals forward Innocent Benza is a good player worth his place in the Premiership who needs the respect accorded to everyone who plays in the league.
The two teams clash in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
Benza, the Herentals owner-cum-striker, has broken the Premiership record by playing at the age of 45.
But he has also drawn his army of critics who say he cannot match the pace of the top-flight league.
Muchenje, who was one of the CAPS United leaders when the Green Machine won the league championship two years ago, says he deserves respect.
"Innocent Benza is actually a good player, which is the reason why his team registered him and I don't agree that he is his team's weak link which teams can capitalise on," said Muchenje.
"I don't believe all that, if he was not good enough I think his team would not have registered him. He is as good as any other player in the Premiership.
"We need to mark him tight because he is actually a very good player. If we do not do that, he can destroy us so we should mark him tight. We have been working hard as a team to try and device some ways to address our weaknesses.
"We have been creating a lot of scoring chances but we have been failing to convert them. I think if we score and put our noses in front we can win.
"If you don't score you can't win matches, so we need to score more goals."
Muchenje said the fact that the match will be played at the giant stadium gives him an advantage as he has lost very few battles at the venue since his days at CAPS United.
The former Gunners man was speaking during his team's weekly press briefings yesterday.
All the other teams in the Premiership have dedicated, at least, a single day to the media but Herentals have shut their doors with their manager Oliver Chirenga saying they were no longer open for interviews.
"We are no longer entertaining the media at our training venue because as for now no-one from the technical staff and the players is cleared by the team to give interviews," said Chirenga.
"We will only be in a position to do that in the near future but even then one will need to have been invited in order to conduct those interviews," he said.