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Ariel close to breaking own record . . . On 14 clean sheets, four penalty saves

By Fungai Muderere

Highlanders goal minder and team captain Ariel “Mangoye” Sibanda’s fine run between the sticks in the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, has seen him produce 14 clean sheets from 25 league starts.

Ariel Sibanda
Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda

Consequently, Sibanda, is now two clean sheets shy of the clean sheets he produced in the past season in which he was eventually named Goalkeeper of the Year.

The ex-Embakwe High School pupil and 2012 Goalkeeper of the Year, had an epic 2018 season, keeping 16 clean sheets from 30 league games for the Bulawayo football giants.

Two seasons ago, former Chicken Inn shot stopper Elvis Chipezeze came out with a stunning 18 clean sheets from 31 starts for the then Rahman Gumbo-mentored side to be named the best goalkeeper in the land.

It is Mangoye’s consistency in Bosso colours that has kept his admirers talking good about him and it is no wonder that he recently bounced back into the senior national team fold after seven years of absence.

The Bosso goalie has further proved his goalkeeping prowess by saving four penalties for the Bulawayo giants in a season that he has scored three from the spot to take his penalty career goal tally to 12 from 13 attempts.

He has failed to convert from 12 yards only on one occasion and he says that was in 2015 when his effort was saved by Tafadzwa Dube, then with Harare City, at Barbourfields Stadium.

Last season, Sibanda made three penalty saves, converting one in a match that Bosso beat Harare City 2-0 at Emagumeni.

The 30-year-old Sibanda, who has worn no other jersey except the Highlanders strip and has kissed no other club badge except the famous “Siyinqaba” inscribed shield and arrow logo in his decade Premiership career, is heavily tipped to grace the Soccer Stars calendar for the second consecutive year together with red-hot Joel “Josta” Ngodzo of Caps United.

There is no doubt the Highlanders shot stopper is one of the most experienced keepers in the land, but he acknowledges a number of top notch keepers have emerged and predicts a tough contest for the 2019 Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Dynamos’ Simba Chinani is one of the goalkeepers who have performed well this season.

With eight games to play before the conclusion of the 2019 season, also expected to be among this year’s Soccer Stars list are , ex Chicken Inn striker Clive Augusto, pint sized Ray Lunga and Warriors forward Prince Dube. B-Metro