INNOCENT BENZA’S romance with the domestic Premiership could end with his team’s punishment, for their alleged part in a match-fixing scandal, if Herentals don’t win their appeal.
But, the 47-year-old forward, who was contemplating another season in the local top-light league, won’t be the oldest player in the world even if he decides to play on in Division One should their appeals fail to preserve their PSL status.
That record has now gone to 74-year-old Egyptian, Eez Eldin Bahder, who this week signed a professional contract to play for the country’s third-tier side 6th October.
“The Egyptian Football Association has announced the registration of what it believes is the oldest professional player in the world,’’ the BBC reported on Tuesday.
“Third-tier club 6th October have signed 74-year-old Eez Eldin Bahder.
“No details were given of what kind of deal Bahder signed with the club.
“He is an unknown in Egyptian footballing circles with no history of playing for any other professional clubs.
“The EFA and Badher have invited the Guinness Book of World Records to come and watch him play in a third-division match in a bid to have his record as the oldest professional player ratified.’’
Bahder was already 57 when 17-year-old Manchester United forward, Mason Greenwood, the youngest player to feature in the English Premiership this season, was born.
A number of 18-year-olds — Arsenal Gabriel Martinelli, Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour, and Spurs man Oliver Skipp — have also been drafted into their squads in the English Premiership this season.
Phil Jagielka, who played alongside former Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu at Sheffield United, is the oldest player to have featured for a Premiership side this season at 37 years.
Jageilka is older than a handful of referees in the Premiership.
Watford goalkeeper, Ben Foster, turns 37 on April 3 while three 35-year-olds — Glenn Murray, Wes Morgan and José Holebas — have featured for Premiership clubs.
Barcelona forward Ansu Fati, born in October 2002, became the club’s youngest ever La Liga scorer and the third-youngest player of all time to find the net in the Spanish top-flight.
The Catalan giants have had this season’s oldest player, Aritz Aduriz, who is now 38 years-old.
Another evergreen outfielder, Joaquín, is the second oldest after turning 38 in the close season.
Oliver Fink of Fortuna Düsseldorf is still going at 37 in the German Bundesliga while Sergio Floccari is the oldest player featuring in the Italian Serie A this season.
Brazilian defender Vitorino Hilton, now 42, is the oldest player in the French Ligue 1. — Sports Reporter/BBC/Planet Football.