CAPE TOWN – Khama Billiat is one of the most talked about footballers in South Africa at the moment, with rumours about his possible move back to Mamelodi Sundowns.
But right now he is a Kaizer Chiefs player, and getting ready to face Cape Town City at Newlands rugby stadium on Tuesday night (7.30pm kickoff).
The 29-year-old Zimbabwean star also made a welcome return to the pitch on Saturday night in the Amakhosi’s 1-1 draw with SuperSport United at the FNB Stadium.
Chiefs said that Billiat had been nursing a knee injury that kept him out of action since he featured in the pre-season Carling Cup, although a number of reports stated that he was actually kept off the field due to the ongoing Sundowns connections.
But Billiat showed his class, alongside Man of the Match Lebogang Manyama, in the SuperSport clash, and will be one of the danger men for City at Newlands on Tuesday.
But Citizens coach Benni McCarthy is not too concerned.
“Khama Billiat has not really had a mention, because he has hardly featured for Chiefs this season. He played in the Carling Cup, and that was it. But now he’s here, and his reputation precedes him. He is fantastic all over, and you’ve got to pay attention to a player like that,” the former Bafana Bafana striker said after training at Newlands on Monday.
“But I’m okay. He’s playing in the side of Thami Mkhize, who is the best right back in the country at the moment. I don’t think there is a player whom you would rather have face (Billiat), no matter the qualities that they have…
“But if they’re up against my captain, then yeah, good luck.”
McCarthy is hoping that his own attacking force can convert their chances against Chiefs following a 1-1 stalemate with Sundowns last Tuesday.
The City coach felt that they played in patches against Masandawana, and wants better finishing at Newlands.
And while Chiefs also have an impressive front-line, City also boast three Bafana squad members in skipper Mkhize, as well as midfielder Thato Mokeke and striker Kermit Erasmus, who can place the Amakhosi defence under pressure.
“As much as Khama has his qualities, his reputation over the years – because he is a player who you have to respect and you have to acknowledge the quality that he brings to the league, when he was at Sundowns, when he was at Ajax and now at Chiefs…
“But ja, Chiefs have Bernard Parker: one player you don’t want to keep your eye off of; Lebo Manyama, the way he played the other night, you really want to keep a close eye on him,” McCarthy said.
“George Maluleka is one of those players, and the new striker Nurkovic – very mobile, very hands-full, good in the air. He has a lot of things… he hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. So, they’ve got good quality, Mathoho at the back.
“But that’s Chiefs. I’ve also my little, my gems. As much as we have to look out for their players, we’ve also got good qualities for us, so we don’t have to worry that much.
“If we step on to the pitch with the right foot forward, and do the right things at the right times, then I think it’s going to be a tough day for Chiefs at the office.”
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