MORE than half a decade since he last featured in national team colours in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea at the National Sports Stadium in Harare in 2015, veteran goalkeeper, Washington “Sekuru Gudo” Arubi, has been included into the Warriors squad for next month’s Cosafa Cup.
Zimbabwe, record winners of Cosafa, are in Group C of the regional showpiece, together with guest participants, Senegal, Namibia and Mozambique.
The Warriors will kick-start their campaign against The Mambas of Mozambique on July 8.
National team’s manager, Wellington Mpandare, confirmed Arubi’s drafting into the national team.
“I can confirm that we have called him (Washington Arubi) for the national team camp. The rest of the information and clarity will be made when we announce the full squad on Thursday (yesterday),” said the Zimbabwe national teams’ manager.
However, it is was always going to be difficult for national team selectors to ignore the Sakubva-born goalkeeper after a stellar season for DStv Premiership side, TTM, which has now been renamed Marumo Stars.
The 35-year-old shot stopper was instrumental in TTM surviving relegation by keeping 10 clean sheets in the league and his heroics in goal also propelled the Limpopo-based side to their first ever title, the Nedbank Cup, and was deservedly named player of the tournament.
For his impressive form in the just-ended season, Sekuru Gudo has been rewarded by a recall to the national team.
By his own admission, Arubi has been through the worst in recent years and joining TTM was a career recouping move that helped him earn recognition.
He thanked all those who believed in his talents and ability to raise from the ashes during the turbulent times of his career when at one point was left without a club.
“I have learnt a lot of things over the years. It was not easy for me to find my way back to the big stage. I am happy to be back with the national team.
“This is something that I really worked hard to achieve and I will always be indebted to all those who believed in my ability to bounce back such as James Lunga Meya. He has been there when things were down and I am really grateful to him for that,” said Arubi.
The former Dynamos and Lancashire Steel goal minder, said the mission ahead is to prove that he still has what it takes to help the national team achieve its dreams and aspirations.
“I am now focusing on helping the national team achieving its goals. This is all I am thinking of at the moment. I know I have what it takes to help the team achieve its target and just like the chance that I have been given to be part of the national team camp I have no doubt that I will earn my place in the final squad,” he said.
Arubi is that proving age is nothing, but a number after a goalkeeping master-classes for TTM that made all the difference in his team’s triumph in the Nedbank Cup as well as relegation survival.
Arubi’s career-recouping move to TTM FC in South African top-flight league gave him hope that he can still reclaim his place between the sticks for the national team once again but critics took it for daydreaming.
The soft spoken goalminder even told Post Sport recently that retirement is not in his scheme of things, at least for now.
For a period spanning more than a decade, precisely since 2004 up until 2015, Arubi was regularly part of the nation’s flagship football outfit set up.
He 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.
But there are people who have always believed in him and Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach, Manqoba Mngqithi is one of them.
Mnggithi recently said he was impressed, but not surprised by the Zimbabwean goalkeeper’s show.
“I have always liked 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’s always been a good goalkeeper,” he told SuperSport TV after his team lost to TTM in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals.
“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.