Zimbabwean star likened to Pogba in South Africa

Former Zimbabwe national team manager Wellington Mpandare weighs in on Khama Billiat’s situation at Kaizer Chiefs
Kaizer Chiefs’ forward Khama Billiat reacts during the ABSA Premier Soccer League match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on October 27, 2019. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

Former Zimbabwe national team manager Wellington Mpandare has weighed in on Khama Billiat’s situation at Kaizer Chiefs saying the Zimbabwean international is a target of criticism from people who are still upset by his move from Premier Soccer League (PSL) rivals Mamelodi Sundowns to Kaizer Chiefs.

Billiat joined Kaizer Chiefs in June 2018 and has struggled for form since his move from Sundowns. He has made just 13 PSL appearances this season which has had him on the lips of everyone, Mpandare feels the criticisms are uncalled for.

“It’s very clear that Khama is being targeted and there is nothing, really, at the moment that he can do right because a negative angle has to be sought and highlighted all the time,” Mpandare said.

“It’s been some kind of a pattern since he joined Kaizer Chiefs with some people seemingly unhappy with the deal which his management team secured for him.

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“They have been drawing this picture to suggest that he only cares for the money, his focus is not on football anymore and he is being paid a big amount without delivering for the team.”

Billiat has been restricted to 13 league games due to the injuries he has suffered this season. Mpandare likened his situation with that of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba who also had an injury hit season, saying there is nothing unusual about Billiat’s situation.

“But the reality is that he has been unfortunate with injuries this season and it happens even to be the best players in the world because this is a tough game,” Mpandare said.

“Look at Paul Pogba, for instance, he would have loved to have been in the thick of things for Manchester United this season but injuries only limited him to just eight appearances, that is half the number of games which Khama has played for Chiefs, but this shows that such things happen.

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“Khama is a dedicated professional footballer, it’s something he has been doing all his life and there is nothing that will delight him more than seeing Chiefs being champions this season.

“To question his mentality, surely, is taking things a bit too far because he has always served his employers very well wherever he has played.

“I believe he deserves to be supported by our Zimbabwean media because he is a key member of Warriors and has demonstrated, now and again, that he can deliver for his country.”

The winger reported for national duty while recovering from an injury, his decision led to criticism from Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp.

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Billiat has been in fine form for his national side, scoring the injury-time winner for Zimbabwe against Somalia to reach the next-round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and also scored a brace that helped his country beat Zambia 2-1 in Lusaka in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.


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