Friday Sep 13, 2019. 10:00
Khama Billiat appears to have contradicted his coach at Kaizer Chiefs, Ernst Middendorp, who had criticised the forward’s call-up to the Zimbabwe national team for their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Somalia.
Billiat has missed patches of games at the start of the new season through injury, but was called into the Zimbabwe squad and proved to be their life-saver with an injury-time goal that avoided a humiliating loss to the 202-ranked East African side.
Middendorp was not best pleased about the fact that Billiat was asked to play the full 90 minutes in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory, or that the player suddenly appeared fully fit when he was unable to complete a full game for Chiefs.
“You need to talk to the player. I actually have my own idea in this direction and the player makes the decision,” Middendorp told reporters.
“We were not able as a club to use the player for a full 90 minutes. I understand running into the representing the country and so on that is why I say ask the player how is he capable of three days he can play for the national team [twice]. I have an idea but ask the player.”
Billiat used the club’s official website to hit back at his coach, saying everything was agreed before his departure for the international window.
“I wish to thank the club for acceding to the call up. As you know I was nursing an injury, but the club and the national team management agreed to my release,” Billiat said.
“We thought the match would provide a good platform to test my recovery. I feel great. I just did my regeneration this morning, and I am ready to play a role against [Polokwane] City [on Saturday]. I am looking forward to it.
“Nothing comes close to representing the nation, especially if you consider the situation that we found ourselves in,” he added tellingly.