Kaizer Chiefs have a pressure cooker conundrum as they meet City

Zimbabwe star forward Khama Billiat is desperate to win his first major trophy with Kaizer Chiefs.
Zimbabwe star forward Khama Billiat is desperate to win his first major trophy with Kaizer Chiefs.
Image: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs need to be careful not to put too much pressure in themselves to win a trophy‚ even though the club are also clearly increasingly desperate for silverware‚ star attacker Khama Billiat has said.

That’s the conundrum facing Chiefs as they kick off their Telkom Knockout campaign in the last-16 against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday‚ fully aware that in their last cup game‚ they choked.

Chiefs – currently entering their fifth campaign trophyless – blew their last opportunity at a trophy in the Nedbank Cup‚ losing against First Division TS Galaxy in 2018-19’s season-ending cup final in Durban in May.

What must have been a key factor in that defeat is the increasing pressure the country’s biggest club have come under to win trophies.

Their ninth place in the Absa Premiership meant they missed out on this season’s MTN8. Chiefs’ improved form as they enter their first cup competition as Absa Premiership leaders will give Amakhosi hope of a good run in the TKO.

“Definitely. I feel like every time it’s coming closer for us. And we just have to do better‚” Billiat said.

“We want to look at the last time we had an opportunity in a cup‚ what we did wrong and how we’re going to tackle this one.

“But we need to play without so much pressure‚ because not every player can handle it.

“We don’t want to lose it because we wanted it more. We just have to be careful how we approach it.”

Chiefs turned down a reported R15-million offer in August from Mamelodi Sundowns for Billiat to return to the club he left just over a season ago. Reports were also that the player had initiated the interest from his ex-club.

As a star of the group stages at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in June‚ a Caf Champions League winner with Sundowns‚ and player with a reputation across the continent‚ Billiat will want to play for a club challenging for silverware.

He seems happy to see more hunger from a team beaten into some form of competitive shape early on this season by coach Ernst Middendorp.

“I want to win trophies‚ like I indicated the first time I got here. And we have to work for it – It’s not going to come just like that‚” Billiat said.

“Everyone has to think the same way. And we look like getting to where we need to be this time around.

“There are a lot of things to work on. I think we’re going in the right direction. And we just pray to God to stay injury-free.”

Telkom Knockout last-16 –

Friday:

Maritzburg United 1 Bidvest Wits 1 – United won 3-1 on penalties

Saturday:

Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs (Cape Town Stadium‚ 3pm)

Golden Arrows v Polokwane City (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium‚ 3pm)

Orlando Pirates v Stellenbosch FC (Orlando Stadium‚ 6pm)

SuperSport United v Baroka FC (Lucas Moripe Stadium‚ 8.15pm)

Sunday:

Highlands Park v Black Leopards (Makhulong Stadium‚ 3pm)

Mamelodi Sundowns v AmaZulu (Lucas Moripe Stadium‚ 3pm)

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