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Ripe for Europe: Time Khama Billiat Goes Overseas

JOHANNESBURG – The player many have likened to George Weah while others say he is the future Abedi Pele is in a limbo. His name is Khama B...

JOHANNESBURG – The player many have likened to George Weah while others say he is the future Abedi Pele is in a limbo.

His name is Khama Billiat, a player who came to South Africa from a modest Zimbabwe club via Ajax Cape Town before making a huge statement at Mamelodi Sundowns.

For the past year or so, Billiat has taken his game to the next level and for most of last season, was almost unplayable on his day.

He led Mamelodi Sundowns to winning almost everything on the domestic front including the league title they won with a record points tally. To add to this, the speedy winger-cum-striker led the Brazilians into becoming African champions, a feat that was only achieved by Orlando Pirates in South Africa, long back in 1995.
Khama Billiat

Many critics say he was unfortunate to lose the African Player of the Year award to teammate Dennis Onyango where he came number two at a function in Nigeria. This is despite the fact that Billiat had won all the accolades and prizes on the domestic front including being voted by the public and his peers as South Africa’s best player.

Fast forward to this year; Billiat was in the Zimbabwe squad that didn’t fare that well at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon where they bowed out in the first round. But to his credit, Billiat was one of the few players in the Warriors team that caught the attention of the continent in Gabon with some flashes of brilliance.

In short, Billiat has done everything in Africa’s best run league, the Absa Premier Soccer League; has won almost all including individual awards and has nothing more left to prove either domestically or anywhere on the African continent.

Most soccer pundits said, and rightly so that Billiat should have packed his bags and left Africa for Europe as soon as he landed from Gabon. In his mid-20s, he is not getting any younger but if he is to receive the same plaudits as those he is being compared to, the player must definitely not spend another season at Mamelodi Sundowns. To say he has no business there is an understatement.

Yes, salary wise he might be earning millions in rand, more than most players in Europe; but no player can claim fame and fortune without having the feel of top European leagues. Billiat is letting down his myriad of supporters on the continent because most believe here is one star that can really represent the continent on Europe’s big stages.

But what could be the player’s problem of not doing the obvious thing? Many think, Billiat actually doesn’t have a good agent who has his long term interest at heart. There is no reason his teammate Keagan Dolly could have landed a mega-deal contract in France when he is miles ahead of his colleague.

This is the same scenario which played itself out for another Zimbabwean star Tinashe Nengomasha whom many thought should not have stayed in South Africa for long. But as we all know, nothing came of Nengomasha’s vast skills and when he was over the hill, he was offloaded by Kaizer Chiefs like a piece of dirt. Here is one player who served Amakhosi with distinction but that alone is not good enough for clubs.

Does Billiat want this movie to play itself out on him this time around? Hasn’t he learnt lessons from what happened to Nengomasha and company? Yes, Sundowns are not Chiefs. The Pretoria side looks after its players well but there is never enough savings for players.

Soon or later, if you play in local leagues, you will never have enough savings to see you through your lifetime unless you move to Europe. - Daily News

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