WARRIORS goalkeeper Washington Arubi has been named Absa Premiership side Pretoria University (AmaTuks) Player of the Season, capping a fine debut season in the richest league on the continent.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA
Having honed his skills at Lancashire Steel before shooting to real stardom at Highlanders and Dynamos, it was always going to be a matter of time before he was considered one of the best, not only in Zimbabwe, but also in South Africa.
Arubi spoke to NewsDay Sport from his South African base yesterday, saying he was happy with his latest achievement, but believes he can do even much better.
“I feel great to be recognised in my first season here. It’s special for me considering that it’s always difficult in the football world for goalkeepers’ efforts to be rewarded.
“We usually take the flak when the team loses and the strikers always take all the glory when the team wins, so for me this award is special. My hard work is paying off,” Arubi said.
“This was my best season according to the club, but personally I don’t think I did my best. I know I can do better. It was a tough season for me because it was my first season here and I was still adjusting to the environment.
“I still have a lot to improve and I want to thank the team’s goalkeepers’ coach Tendai Tanyanyiwa for pushing me all the way and always encouraging me to improve,” he added.
His coach Steve Barker was full of praise for the 27-year old, adding that the acquisition of Arubi was the club’s most key signing.
“He has been our biggest and most key signing of the whole season I believe, and any team that wants to be successful needs a goalkeeper that can do the job for you and he stood tall.
“He saved us matches, he won us points, he kept us in games where we were under pressure and he is an international goalkeeper for Zimbabwe. That class has come through for us,” said Barker.
In a season where most Zimbabwe players in South Africa failed, save for Cuthbert Malajila and Willard Katsande who did well for Maritzburg United and Kaizer Chiefs respectively, Arubi has a strong message for his compatriots.
“The only secret in football is to work hard at training, trying to give yourself time to do extra training for yourself and to focus on your career.
“A player needs to be confident in everything he does on the field of play. You should not be afraid to make mistakes, but to always try new things and be hungry for success,” advised Arubi.
The former Dynamos trio of Denver Mukamba, Simba Sithole and Rodreck Mutuma failed to impose themselves in the South African league since their much heralded transfer last season while Takesure Chinyama’s season at Orlando Pirates was blighted by injuries. It was even worse for former Gunners midfielder Ramson Zhuwawo who has been released by his club AmaZulu.