Ray Bande Senior Reporter
WARRIORS’ talisman Khama Billiat might be the poster boy for the Zimbabwean flavour in the cash rich ABSA Premiership in South Africa in recent weeks but three players – Onsimo Bhasera, Willard Katsande and Washington Arubi – who all trace their roots to Mutare’s oldest high density suburb of Sakubva have also made their presence felt.
The dusty roads of Sakubva are a common denominator in the lives of Supersport United’s Bhasera, teammate Arubi and Kaizer Chiefs anchorman Katsande.
As if that was enough, the three have Sakubva iconic junior football coach Timoth ‘Sicho’ Masachi to thank for honing their ball control and dribbling skills at an early age.
In recent years, some players from Mutare that include Ngezi Platinum duo of Liberty Chakoroma and Ticha Mabvura have tried to break into the ABSA Premiership but their efforts were futile.
Given his age and social challenges that Arubi has faced in recent years, finding his way back into the books of an ABSA Premiership bookmakers’ championship favourite is an achievement.
Even though former Warriors number one Arubi is yet to command a first 11 place at high riding Supersport United, it is the resuscitation of his career that has seen him settling at Matsatsantsa as the second choice goalkeeper.
Arubi had his work permit delayed and it was only approved in August when the ABSA Premiership League matches had already started. He is now formally registered as a local player.
The most lucrative league on the continent canters into its seventh week of the season this weekend with the MTN8 final pitting Cape Town City and Supersport United at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday (tomorrow) evening. .
Bhasera has been negatively affected by injuries but resilience has seen him getting back on his feet to feature for Supersport United while gritty midfielder Katsande has consistently featured for Amakhosi.
In fact, Katsande has been a vital cog in the Kaizer Chiefs line up, making it into the first 11 in every other encounter Amakhosi are playing.
The trios’ exploits have earned the admiration of South African based Zimbabwean businessman James Lunga Meya, who also traces his roots to Sakubva.
Meya, who is fondly referred to as Hwetu is local football circles, said the return of Arubi to the spotlight is an achievement for the former Lancashire Steel and Dynamos goalkeeper.
“The boys are very impressive especially Washington Arubi is a good example of working so hard without giving up in life, many had counted him out and already forgotten about him in the soccer circles of Mutare but he proved his critics wrong and now it is a matter of time before he claims the number one jersey at SuperSport United and also national team.
“Onsimo Bhasera too has been hampered by injuries lately but again he is back and very impressive and Widzo (Katsande) had been very consistent too and I am indeed very proud with our boys representing Mutare very well and also to encourage these upcoming stars to work hard and be very discipline their time will come to break through,” he said.