We win because we're solid at the back‚ says Kaizer Chiefs' Billiat

Mark Mayambela of Cape Town City and Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs challenge for possession during the Telkom Knockout 2019, Last 16 match between Cape Town City FC and Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Mark Mayambela of Cape Town City and Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs challenge for possession during the Telkom Knockout 2019, Last 16 match between Cape Town City FC and Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Khama Billiat has paid tribute to Kaizer Chiefs’ defensive structure‚ saying it's the key reason for their form‚ which sees Amakhosi five points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership going into Saturday’s Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates.

Chiefs — who battled to ninth place last season‚ which was also their fourth trophyless campaign — take on their Soweto rivals Pirates on the back of eight wins from 10 league matches.

They also beat Pirates on penalties in this past Saturday’s Telkom Knockout quarterfinal after a 2-2 extra-time thriller at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

To add to Chiefs’ growing confidence‚ coach Ernst Middendorp rested several players for a midweek 2-0 away win against Chippa United in Port Elizabeth.

“I really need to give credit to our defence line and our defensive organisation‚” Billiat said. “It’s something that we have mastered very well. We don’t concede as much as we used to. We don’t concede goals‚ and when we do we also don’t concede them as easily as we used to.

“But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. We just have started understanding each other better‚ and each one understands the coach’s philosophy better right now.

“It took a bit of time. And I think we’re getting into it and we really look like a team right now.

“We are a unit‚ we are united right now. And ja‚ when you are in a good space everything just starts flowing.”

That structure is combined with a notable fight and grit that has come into Chiefs’ game. Billiat himself has been seen to track back more‚ and pressurise for the ball more. Chiefs are notably aggressive in the 50/50s.

“I think that’s one thing that we didn’t get right when the coach arrived. We never really understood properly what our roles are‚ and how to be in certain moments‚” Billiat said.

“We’re understanding it a lot better‚ and things that were difficult for us have become easier.

“Through hard work and paying attention to detail‚ it seems to be working for us.”

Chiefs' goals against Chippa came from a brace from Dumisani Zuma in the 67th and 90th minutes.

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