Khama Billiat's call-up angers Mazinyo
Khama Billiat's decision to represent Zimbabwe in the second leg of the Fifa 2022 World Cup preliminary round qualifier against Somalia seems to have left a sour taste in the mouth of his Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp.
Having been left out of the squad for the away leg that ended 1-0 in favour of Somalia last week, Billiat was hastily called up for Tuesday's return leg on home soil.
The Amakhosi ace didn't disappoint, netting a 92nd-minute strike to book Zimbabwe a spot in the group stages of the qualifiers.
However, having announced on their website two weeks ago that Billiat would need 10 to 14 days to heal from a knock to his right pelvic bone, it appears Chiefs never approved the 29-year-old's abrupt inclusion in The Warriors squad.
Speaking after scooping the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month accolade for August at the PSL offices in Parktown yesterday, Middendorp was visibly irked when asked about Billiat's participation in the match on Tuesday.
"You should talk to the player. I actually have my own idea in this direction and the player makes a decision, that's it," Middendorp proclaimed.
"It's not about [me] being impressed. We were not capable, not able as a club to use a player for a full 90 minutes.
"I understand serving the country and so on, that's why I am saying ask the player how."
The German further implied that Billiat was risking sustaining injuries.
"I have my own idea about it, when I am talking about loading, when I am talking about what is an idea behind effective training loading, effective training structure," said the Chiefs coach. "The idea is to keep and get players totally injury free."
Middendorp couldn't confirm whether Billiat was ready to feature against Polokwane City at FNB Stadium tomorrow (6pm).
The ex-Maritzburg United mentor insisted Chiefs have enough attacking players to do the job.
"This is what you have to realise, we have [an] absolutely in-form impact player in Dumisani Zuma, we have [a] good functional player with Samir Nurkovic, we have players with a lot of potential with Lazarous Kambole, just to give you some ideas as to what's different regarding the last year."
Tomorrow: Arrows vAmaZulu, Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, 3pm;Pirates v Chippa, Orlando, 3pm; Chiefs v Polokwane, FNB Stadium, 6pm;SuperSport v Cape Town City, Mbombela, 8.15pm
Sunday: Leopards v Baroka, Thohoyandou, 3pm;Celtic v Stellenbosch, Dr Molemela Stadium, 3pm