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Ariel sees heir in Raphael

by Staff reporter
21 Feb 2022 at 05:31hrs | Views
VETERAN Highlanders goal minder Ariel Sibanda believes new acquisition Raphael Pitisi has all the right attributes to take over from him as the club's first choice goalkeeper.

Sibanda has commanded the Highlanders number one for over a decade after breaking into the first team in 2008 as a junior player.

He was promoted into the senior team in 2009 after first-choice goalkeeper Washington Arubi left.

The 32-year-old goalkeeper has won a number of trophies with Bosso, including the 2019 Chibuku Super Cup, 2013 Mbada Diamonds Cup, the BancABC Super Sup, the NetOne-sponsored EasyCall Cup, and the Independence Cup, among others.

However, the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship has eluded him during his 12-year stay at Bosso. He disputes the belief that during all these years he has not had any serious competition for his place in the team.

"Mangoye", as Sibanda is affectionately known, says Munyaradzi Diya and Njabulo Ncube top his list of teammates that gave him a run for his money.

"It's not like I have not had any competition in the last 15 years. There have been goalkeepers who have kept me on my toes, but hard work ensured that I did not lose my number one jersey.

All the goalkeepers that have come I worked well with them and that also helped me grow as a goalkeeper because I also learnt from them. I believe hard work is what got me this far," said Sibanda.

He said Pitisi is capable of replacing him when he finally retires.

"I think he is very good. He has a chance, and just has to continue working the way he is doing," added Sibanda.
Pitisi made his Premiership debut in 2019 as a 17-year-old for TelOne FC.

The Young Warriors' goalkeeper was part of the national Under-20 squad that participated in the 2020 Cosafa tournament last year alongside Bulawayo Chiefs midfielder Lexington Mujokoro, Chicken Inn forward Munashe Pini, Dynamos' Bill Antonio and Kelvin Mangiza of FC Platinum.

Pitisi joined Highlanders from Triangle United where he was deputising first choice goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya.

He also had a stint in South Africa with Vodacom League side Ollesdas on loan from the then Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC, which later rebranded to Marumo Gallants in the South African DStv Premier Soccer League.

Source - The Chronicle