Arubi earns Sundowns coach respect



FORMER Warriors goalkeeper Washington Arubi was the hero on Sunday as South African side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) beat champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-final of the Nedbank Cup.

TTM beat the Brazilians 6-5 in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw in regulation time at Loftus Versfeld and Arubi’s heroics earned him respect from Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi.

Arubi (35) made spectacular saves during regulation time and in the penalty lottery denied Hlompho Kekana’s spot kick to send TTM to the finals in which they face Chippa United.

Mngqithi told South African media that Arubi was at his best on Sunday.

“We expected a very tough match because they are a very good team. Don’t take them lightly. I think credit today should be given to their goalkeeper. Washington (Arubi) was on top of his game today. He made some outstanding saves in areas where you thought he was dead and buried,” Mngqithi said.

Arubi was crowned man-of-the match after executing a brilliant performance.

“And it was always going to be tough for us considering that we had another tough match on Monday. Be that as it may, we fought very hard. We pushed them. We created scoring opportunities. Washington was just there at the end of very ball and no wonder he was the man of the match,” the Sundowns coach said.

He added: “I’ve always liked Arubi. I’ve always believed he is a good goalkeeper. And today, he really showed his quality. And I am sure there are many other teams looking at him differently because he has always been a good goalkeeper. I was wondering why he had to slump down to NFD (National First Division) because he has always been one of the best goalkeepers in the country.”

Arubi joined TTM in October last year from SuperSport United after the Limpopo-based side acquired Bidvest Wits’s top league franchise.

Farai Madhananga, tagged along with TTM from Bidvest Wits sat on the bench on Sunday against Sundowns.

If TTM win the Nedbank Cup final, they have a chance of  representing South Africa in the next Caf Confederation Cup.

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