Durban - Keagan Dolly has rightfully attracted praise for his major role in Kaizer Chiefs resurgence this season under Stuart Baxter but one other player who has also quietly pulled the strings is Khama Billiat.
Some Kaizer Chiefs fans were sceptical of the club’s decision to fork out huge salaries to Billiat and Dolly but the technical team of the Amakhosi is now being vindicated.
The duo have got the club up to second place in the standings. The Chiefs team playing this season is a completely different one to the one that was tactically all over the place under Gavin Hunt last season.
Billiat was the chief architect for the Amakhosi in their 3-1 Soweto derby victory over Moroka Swallows on Sunday afternoon. He scored a brace with his goals coming on either side of half-time while also playing a role in Dolly’s first-half goal which gave Chiefs the lead.
The 31-year-old joined Chiefs in a surprise move in 2018 from Mamelodi Sundowns. Billiat joined Chiefs with much expectation after playing a key role in helping Masandawana win three Premiership titles as well as the 2016 CAF Champions League.
The Harare-born player was the standout performer in South African top-flight football in 2016 as he won the PSL Player of the Season award, PSL Players’ Player of the Season award and PSL Midfielder of the Season award.
Advantage Kaizer Chiefs in Dobsonville ✌— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) November 28, 2021
Keagan Dolly has now scored six goals in the #DStvPrem this season, three less than the leader Peter Shalulile.
📺 Stream live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 pic.twitter.com/7jdus8vcAr
However, things have for the most part not gone according to plan for him at Naturena and some fans have felt that the club wasted resources by signing him. Billiat’s inability to deliver consistently for Chiefs has not been entirely his fault as he has not been helped by unfortunate injuries and a lack of healthy squad chemistry within the team's dugout after Stuart Baxter’s first stint as coach of the club ended in 2015.
However, Billiat’s fortunes appear to be changing this season, aided by the strong chemistry that he enjoys with team-mates Dolly and Bernard Parker as well as the positive team culture that Baxter has re-installed into the team.
Billiat and Dolly reunited this season and are not new to being together. The duo previously played as attacking partners at Ajax Cape Town and then Sundowns. The prior understanding that they have had with each other combined with the experience of Parker has played a big role in changing Chiefs' fortunes.
Billiat has already garnered five goals and five assists in all competitions this season which is the equivalent figure that he garnered in the last two seasons combined.
With 94 all-time Premiership goals to his name, Billiat is now the sixth all-time top scorer in the South African top-flight and nine behind fifth-place Collins Mbesuma (103) and 27 behind all-time top scorer Siyabonga Nomvethe (123).
KHAMA BILLIAT 🚀![CDATA]>🔥![CDATA]>😱![CDATA]>😳![CDATA]>🤩— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) April 20, 2019
Khama Billiat's goal in the #NedbankCup semi-final was so good that Duane Dell'Oca almost lost his voice from screaming 🥴![CDATA]>🤐 pic.twitter.com/pOlaPpP4Hu
If Billiat can maintain his current level of form and potentially play on for another three to four years at a high level, which is entirely possible in today’s day and age due to advanced fitness routines, he can back himself to beat the legendary Nomvethe’s record.
While Sundowns will be the overwhelming favourites to win a fifth consecutive league title this season, it currently looks like Chiefs will be their strongest opposition this term.
If Billiat can maintain his current level of form together with Dolly, Chiefs can certainly aim for nothing less than a second-place finish this season and a very deep run in the Nedbank Cup.