Arubi basks in Nedbank award glory

08 Jun, 2021 - 00:06 0 Views
Arubi basks in Nedbank award glory SEAL OF EXCELLENCE . . . Zimbabwe international goalkeeper, Washington Arubi, won his first major individual award in South Africa when he was named the 2021 Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament on Sunday

The Herald

Grace Chingoma

Senior Sports Reporter

WASHINGTON Arubi is probably fated to win something big in every year that starts with the number one.

Ten years ago, in 2011, he won the Soccer Star of the Year award, in the domestic Premiership.

On Sunday night, he took home the award handed to the best player of the Nedbank Cup, in the South African Premiership.

He was rewarded for being the stand-out player, in the league’s biggest knockout tournament, as he helped newboys, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, win the jackpot.

They will play in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

The 35-year-old goalkeeper told The Herald the award had renewed his spirits and will inspire him, to work even harder, next season.

The ageless goalkeeper is back at the top after a brilliant season with his Limpopo club.

“It’s been a tough season but I thank God for the strength, and wisdom, also credit goes to the team, it’s not only about me but them as well,’’ he said.

“The award has motivated me to keep working hard so that I achieve more in the next season.

“I thought it was sad, because of the pandemic, no fans were allowed to be at the stadiums so I am hoping next season it will be a different scenario.”

Arubi was part of the Callisto Pasuwa’s Dynamos squad which played in the Champions League against Liga Muculmana and Tunisian side Esperance.

He can barely wait to go back into another African inter-club adventure.

“I feel great, you know it’s always tough to play in Africa (competitions). I am looking forward to it.

“That’s where we have to show more because we will be competing with the best, but, with good preparations and hard work, we can do well,” said Arubi.

TTM finished 12th, in their first season in the top-flight, after acquiring the Bidvest Wits franchise.

They forced a goalless draw against Orlando Pirates in their final match of the season.

“The last game was one of the toughest matches we played because we faced a full-strength Pirates team but credit goes to the fringe players that we used, they pushed until the last minute,’’ he said.

“Overall, the season started not so good but I’m happy we managed to work hard, as a team, and retained our PSL status for next season, breaking the curse that a new team that wins Nedbank rarely survives the chop.

“We thank the management, coaches and supporters who were rallying behind us the whole season.

“We lost, won and survived as a team.”

In 2015, he made history with University of Pretoria, when he became the first player to reach 100 games, for the club.

He has revived his career at TTM after a spell in the wilderness.

“I am happy that we managed to achieve what we really wanted, which is to keep the PSL status for the team, even though we went through a difficult path.

“We managed to overcome everything that we faced because we kept going, kept working hard, believing in ourselves and being positive.

“Everything made us stronger as a team, that’s why we managed to survive the chop,” he said. Consistency paid off when he was named the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament on Sunday night.

He pocketed R150 000 in prize money.

Arubi was rewarded for his exploits after he kept four clean sheets, during the tournament, as he led TTM to their maiden silverware, in the Premiership.

He was the only Zimbabwean player who featured in this year’s South Africa Premiership end-of-season awards.

Arubi beat his TTM teammate, Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, and Namibia’s Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns, to the award.

Shalulile dominated the awards after winning the prestigious DStv Footballer of the Season, which was accompanied by R250 000 cheque, and the DStv Players’ Player of the Season, worth R200 000.

Arubi had a strong finish in the DStv Premiership as he helped his side survive relegation, with 10 clean sheets in the league.

He was the fourth on the charts behind Ugandan Denis Onyango, who was voted DStv Premiership Goalkeeper of the Year, with 15 cleans sheets, Veli Mlothwa (11) and Golden Arrows’ Sifiso Mlungwana (11).

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