Ray BandeÂ Senior Sports Reporter
GOALKEEPER Washington Arubi could be facing the sunset of his romance with countryâ€™s flagship soccer outfit after Warriors coach, Calisto Pasuwa omitted him in the enlarged 26 man squad that will prepare for the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi next Sunday.
Arubi was a regular in the Warriors line up but in recent assignments the media shy goalminder has been in and out of the final squad with young Dynamos keeper Tatenda Mukurua and How Mine shot stopper Bernard Donovan making it into the final squad ahead of the former Dynamos goalkeeper.
For next Sundayâ€™s assignment, Triangle goalkeeper Chilenga has been called up for the must-win match ostensibly as Arubiâ€™s replacement during the week long preparations.
Warriors coach, Calisto Pasuwa has decided against tinkering with the squad that beat Swaziland with, Orlando Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro, unheralded Poland-based midfielder, Andrew Gwaze and Triangle goalkeeper, Tapiwa Chilenga being the only notable additions to the team.
At 30, it appears Arubi is in the twilight zone of his national team goalkeeping role rains it never rains for the Mutare born star as the University of Pretoriaâ€™s goalkeeper could also be set for an exit from the ABSA Premiership club.
The former La Sakubva player was a regular and played every game under Sammy Troughton earlier in the ABSA Premiership, however he has since fallen down the pecking order since the arrival of Shaun Bartlett.
The Zimbabwean goal minder joined AmaTuks, following a move from Dynamos FC in 2012.
Arubi is one of the players to have been mentioned in match-fixing allegations which have rocked football in recent times, along with his Tuks teammate and fellow Zimbabwean, Partson Jaure.
Be that as it may, Ndoro, who has also charmed the national team gaffer to earn the recent call, initially struggled to get into the starting line up after joining from ABSA Premiershipâ€™s Black Aces, but once he got his chance, he became a regular.
The Warriors gaffer told the media this week that he had been monitoring Gwaze, who plays his club football in Poland for relegated Gornik Zabrez.
The Warriors are set to regroup after the weekend to begin preparations for the two matches.
Permutations are that the Warriors need to win against Malawi and then force at least a draw in their last match against Guinea in September for them to qualify for the biennial soccer showpiece for the first time since 2006.
The Warriors coach also named the Cosafa squad, with Rodreck Mutuma and Ronald Chitiyo being sacrificed. Caps United midfielder, Joel Ngodzo has also been overlooked, while Tapiwa Chilenga will not take part in the Cosafa tournament.
2017 Afcon qualifier squad:
Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mukuruva, Bernard Donovan, Tapiwa Chilenga
Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Lawrence Mhlanga, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Bruce Kangwa, Onismo Bhasera, Elisha Muroiwa, Teenage Hadebe, Blessing Moyo
Midfielders: Willard Katsande, Marvellous Nakamba, Danny Phiri, Kuda Mahachi, Marshall Mudehwe, Farai Madhanhanga, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Andre Gwaze
Strikers: Knowledge Musona, Nyasha Mushekwi, Evans Rusike, Mathew Rusike, Khama Billiat, Cuthbert Malajila, Tendai Ndoro.
Cosafa squad; Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mukuruva, Bernard Donovan, Nelson Chadya
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi, Blessing Moyo, Bruce Kangwa, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Lawrence Mhlanga, Teenage Hadebe, Elisha Muroiwa, William Sitima
Midfielders: Marshall Mudehwe, Danny Phiri, Nqobizitha Masuku, Farai Madhanhanga, Raphael Manuvire, King Nadolo, Talent Chawapiwa, Hillary Bakacheza, Tafadzwa Kutinyu,
Strikers: Mitchell Katsvairo, William Manondo, Walter Musona, Charlton Shumba, Obadiah Tarumbwa.