FORMER Warriors goalkeeper, Washington Arubi, is proving that age is nothing, but a number after a goalkeeping master class for his side, TTM that made all the difference in his team’s progress to South Africa FA Cup final.
Arubi’s career-recouping move to newly formed TTM FC in the South African top-flight league gave him hope that he can still reclaim his place between the sticks for the national team.
The 35-year-old soft spoken goalminder told Post Sport recently that retirement is not in his scheme of things, at least for now and opened up on his aim to play for the national team once more.
TTM are third from bottom in the Premiership and will face the club immediately beneath them, Chippa United, in a May 8 final no one expected.
Arubi who joined TTM last year after time with four clubs in Zimbabwe and three in South Africa made a string of superb saves in regular and extra time.
Then, his brilliant dive to block a Hlompho Kekana penalty won the shootout for the team beaten 3-1 at home by Sundowns just 12 days ago in the league.
Losing on penalties dashed Sundowns’ hopes of a CAF Champions League-Premiership-FA Cup treble this year.
The outcome was the biggest shock of the season, especially as Sundowns had been superb when crushing Orlando Pirates 4-1 in a midweek quarter-final.
No wonder Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach, Manqoba Mngqithi has lauded the Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila goalkeeper, saying he is one of the best goalkeepers in South Africa.
Mngqithi said he was impressed, but not surprised by the Zimbabwean goalkeeper’s show.
“I have always like Arubi. I have always believed he is a very good goalkeeper. And today he really showed his quality and I am sure there are many other teams looking at him differently because he is always been a good goalkeeper,” he told SuperSport TV after the game.
“I was wondering why he had to slump down to NFD because he has always been one of the best goalkeepers in the country,” added the Mamelodi Sundowns coach.
For a period spanning more than a decade, precisely since 2004 up until 2016, Arubi was regularly part of the nation’s flagship football outfit set up.
The Sakubva-born player endured two seasons of very little game time at compatriot, Kaitano Tembo-coached SuperSport United and temporarily left without a club after Matsatsantsa decided against renewing his contract.
By his own admission, life at the The Swanky Boys was not rosy and his move to TTM brought hope of resuscitating his career while enjoying more game time.
Speaking from his new base, Arubi maintained that he still has “unfinished business” with the Warriors.
“I still stand by my story. I feel I still need to play for my nation once more. I feel I still have something valuable to offer. I am happy with how things have been going on at TTM and I really appreciate the confidence that the coaches have shown in me.
“I am trying my best each day to repay that trust by performing well and it is pleasing when things go the way you have planned. I will continue in that direction and it is up to the national team technical set-up to decide on my inclusion. I respect their choices and decision all for the good of the national team,” said Arubi.