Billiat's absence explained

Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat got injured while out playing for Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations, says his club coach Ernst Middendorp.
Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat got injured while out playing for Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations, says his club coach Ernst Middendorp.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has once again made an attempt to clear the air about the absence of Khama Billiat with the star striker having missed the team's trip to Durban.

The Zimbabwean missed the team's opening 3-2 win over Highlands Park last week and this past weekend's 1-0 win over Black Leopards at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Rumours have been swirling around about Billiat's future, with him linked with a sensational return to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Middendorp explained in detail why Billiat has been missing in action.

"Khama came back from Afcon and there was already an issue with his left knee. He came back on July 15. He didn't go with us to Botswana [during pre-season]," he said.

"I would not have played him in the Carling Black Label [Cup] but he said he's fine and wants to play.

"It started on July 31 and we decided to unload [rest] him for three weeks, so that means until August 21 and then after that he will be available for selection."

The Glamour Boys put in a solid display in the victory over Leopards that came courtesy of a goal from Eric Mathoho. The defender has started the season with a bang after missing much of last season due to injuries.

The German-born tactician says having Mathoho back was like having a new signing.

"To have six points [from opening two games] is something we definitely have been dreaming about," he said.

"I did not think it would be possible with the new players we have. By new players I mean guys who haven't been able to play in the last six months. Eric is a new player. Lebo Manyama is a new player for me."

First-choice goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is also expected to be ready to play by next week.

"We will have Itu next week. Last week we played him 45 minutes in a test match and we will play him next week for 90 and then he will be available for selection."

X