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A tale of two ‘keepers who inspired TTM

One is an ageless Zimbabwean goalkeeper who refused to let a number of challenges bury him, and bring his career to a halt. So, he fought back, to claim his place on the podium of success, at the age of 35.

Brighton Mhlongo and Washington Arubi
Brighton Mhlongo and Washington Arubi

The other is an unfortunate South African goalkeeper, who suffered a freak injury during training.

It has brought his career to a premature end, at the age of 30.

Together, in their own way, they helped modest club Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila win the Nedbank Cup, on Sunday.

Washington Arubi, the Zimbabwean goalkeeper, kept four clean sheets in five games, including the final, to help TTM to their first major silverware.

“This is a great moment for me,’’ he told The Herald. “It’s been a difficult journey for me, I met several challenges along the way but I was always sure I was going to overcome.

“The secret was to keep going despite the challenges.

“Everything that has happened to me, I have accepted that it had to go that way. Of course, it was frustrating but I refused to take it as a stumbling block to my career.

“I took it as an experience and there were many lessons along the way, I took everything that came to me as a challenge, which needed to be faced.

“I choose to look at the positives and it helped me to develop a strong mental fortitude.’’

Unfortunately, for his teammate, Brighton Mhlongo, his career is over, at just 30, which is considered to a relatively young age for goalkeepers.

However, the former Orlando Pirates ‘keeper played his part to inspire TTM to their Nedbank Cup glory.

“Let me give mention to Brighton, who’s going to have to retire at the end of this season because of his eye injury,” revealed coach FC coach Dylan Kerr, in his post-match press conference.

“He made a speech to the players today, which I thought epitomised the character and togetherness of the team.

“It’s not going to go unnoticed, because today broke his heart, to stand in front of his teammates, knowing that he’s never going to play football again.

“He made a very, very poignant speech to the players and I think that went a long way for them to perform the way they did.”

Mhlongo suffered an eye injury, during training, three weeks ago.

The former Bafana Bafana and Pirates shot stopper was struck, hard in his face, by a ball, which left him partially blind, and after visiting an eye specialist, the club were told he should retire from the game.

Mhlongo amassed more than 80 appearances in the South African Premiership for the Buccaneers, Bidvest Wits, Chippa and TTM.

Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs have been told to part ways with Warriors star, Khama Billiat to avoid losing him on a free.

Former Chiefs and Bafana Bafana midfielder Linda “Mercedes Benz’’ Buthelezi believes it is time the club accept the relationship between them and Billiat was not working.

“Hey, Billiat must go my brother, he is doing nothing for us,” Buthelezi told KickOff.com.

“I’m a Chiefs person mina, he must go. I don’t think Chiefs signed him because they wanted to invest in him in a sense of selling him overseas.

“If that was the case we would have seen it by now. “We can see from far that we invested in him so that he would score goals for us. That didn’t happen. So he must just go . . . the option they have on him means nothing my brother.

“An option is not an agreement, it’s a recommendation. It means nothing.

“I don’t think he will be signed for another season because he gave us nothing ever since he arrived. It’s not like he will be missed. What we need are good defenders and also someone who will score goals for us.

“It’s not like we don’t have such players in this country. If you can go to Baroka, they play good football, they have talented boys there, even Black Leopards have good players there.

“You can sign a few of them here and they will be very serious once they get here.

“You can say they are leaking goals and they are in the relegation zone but even (Jomo) Cosmos had good players but they were relegated. You don’t only invest by paying someone, it also depends on the returns. We don’t have Billiat’s returns.

“So, he must leave so that we can promote a few youngsters. The coach must be allowed to sign three or four players of his choice, and add another three from development.” — The Herald/KickOff.com

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