Chiefs’ star Billiat has a personal motivation for seeking a win against Chippa in cup semi

18 April 2019 - 16:06
By Marc Strydom
Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat is nursing a niggling injury and misses out of the club's next Caf Confederation match against Elgeco.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat is nursing a niggling injury and misses out of the club's next Caf Confederation match against Elgeco.

Kaizer Chiefs’ star player Khama Billiat has a personal motivation for success in the Nedbank Cup semifinal against Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Billiat seemingly harbours no envy that his former team‚ Mamelodi Sundowns‚ where he won the 2016 Caf Champions League‚ have continued a path through continental football with their 5-1 aggregate thrashing of Al Ahly in the 2018-19 quarterfinals this month.

The little playmaker has enjoyed himself in his first season at Naturena‚ facing a new challenge in new surroundings trying to turn around Chiefs’ almost four-season barren trophy run‚ and‚ it has to be said‚ earning game time far more easily.

Billiat‚ the sparkplug in Chiefs’ attacking engine‚ is hoping for a strong finish to the season‚ in which a Nedbank Cup winners’ medal would be the cherry on top‚ to tee himself up for a successful Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) for Zimbabwe in Egypt in June and July.

“Definitely. It’s going to give more confidence to the Afcon if you’re going to be on top of your game‚ if you finish the season strong‚” Billiat said.

“It gives you more confidence going into such a big tournament on a high.”

Zimbabwe had a tough draw‚ being placed in Group A with the hosts‚ Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Billiat will need all the confidence he can get being Zimbabwe’s talisman as they open the tournament against the Pharaohs in front of 75‚000 home supporters at Cairo International Stadium on June 21.

“Ja‚ but Egypt are going to need more confidence as well because they have more pressure – they are playing at home and they are expected to win‚” Billiat said.

“I just hope we will look at it positively‚ just try to match them‚ because we believe in our squad that will be chosen.”

First‚ Billiat has to have his sights on an expected crowd of 40‚000‚ mostly Chiefs fans‚ in Port Elizabeth‚ as Amakhosi aim to negotiate past Clinton Larsen’s tight Chippa and reach a cup final‚ desperate to prevent their run without a trophy going to four seasons.

“Chippa are a very good team. They know how to keep the ball‚ they have a very good counterattack‚” Billiat said.

“They have got very good individual players who can turn things around at any time. It’s not going to be easy‚ especially on their home ground.

“I just feel it’s one of the games where‚ if we go there wanting it more than Chippa‚ then I believe in the team‚ I believe in the squad that we have‚ and that if we are on top of the game on the day we can win.”

Chiefs were polished in a 2-0 semifinal win against Cape Town City in Nelspruit‚ then lost concentration returning to the league with a flat 1-0 home defeat against Baroka FC‚ then 0-0 draw away against Black Leopards.

Chippa won 1-0 away against AmaZulu‚ then lost 1-0 at home to Bidvest Wits‚ in their last two league games. They beat Bidvest Wits 5-3 on penalties in the Nedbank quarters‚ after a dramatic 4-4 result by the end of extra time.