By Sports Reporter
LONG-SERVING Highlanders captain Ariel Sibanda has stunned the Bulawayo giants’ supporters following his revelation that he is leaving the club that he has served for the last 13 years.
The veteran goalkeeper, who is a firm favourite with the hard-to-please Bosso supporters dropped the bombshell in a statement on social media Tuesday although he did not reveal the reasons for his surprise move which has shocked the Highlanders family.
“I feel very sad now as I have to leave the club that I love,” Sibanda said.
“I would have loved to say goodbye to a fully packed BF (Barbourfields), but I’m grateful to everyone who loved and supported me during my 13 years with the club. I wish the team a very good season when the league resumes.”
Sibanda has only played for the Bulawayo giants Highlanders since joining the Bulawayo giants in 2008 as a junior player.
He was promoted into the senior team in 2009 after the first-choice goalkeeper Washington Arubi had left Bosso for their arch-rivals Dynamos Football Club.
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.
Individually Sibanda enjoyed tremendous success, winning several accolades in recognition of his sterling performances.
He won his first major individual accolade in 2012 when he was voted the Castle Lager Premier Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year before being named the club’s best player in 2016.
Sibanda has been the leading goalkeeper in the domestic topflight league over the last two seasons.
He won the Castle Lager Premiership Goalkeeper of the Year accolade in the last two seasons before the Covid-19 pandemic in the 2018 and 2019 Premier Soccer League seasons.
He kept 15 clean sheets for Highlanders in the 2019 season and was the natural choice for the best goalkeeper of the year, having also won the accolade the previous year.
Despite his individual success at Bosso, Sibanda now appears set to wind up his career elsewhere.