Downs star Bil­liat set to bow out in style?

Saturday Star - - SPORT -

his last league game for Sun­downs.

The Zim­bab­wean will lift the Absa Premier­ship tro­phy for the sec­ond time in his ca­reer. The winner’s medal he will get will join the Ned­bank Cup,

Telkom Knock­out,

Caf Cham­pi­ons League and Caf Su­per Cup winner’s medals he amassed with the Tsh­wane gi­ants along with the Foot­baller of the Year award he re­ceived in 2016.

“We paid big money for him and ev­ery­one was say­ing how can you spend so much money on a 22-year-old? But if you look at the num­ber of tro­phies we have won, he has been at the heart of that suc­cess – in fact lead­ing us, then you ap­pre­ci­ate and you ac­cept that he might not be here (next sea­son) but he gave us a lot dur­ing his time,” Mosi­mane said.

“If he stays, it’s a legacy that we are build­ing. He has con­trib­uted so much in the last five years. We love him and he knows that the team loves him. But you know me, I won’t stop try­ing to change his mind be­cause where there is life there is hope. I still be­lieve that it’s pos­si­ble. Any­thing is pos­si­ble.”

This was a low-key sea­son for Bil­liat ac­cord­ing to his own high stan­dards. His con­tri­bu­tion nonethe­less was im­mense, scor­ing eight goals in 16 matches in the league. Those goals were cru­cial, es­pe­cially the two he scored against Bid­vest Wits, the one against Plat­inum Stars in Pho­keng and the mag­i­cal one against Cape Town City which ended the Cit­i­zens’ dom­i­nance over the Brazil­ians while also elim­i­nat­ing the Cape side in the league race.

Bil­liat was this week named in Caf ’s Cham­pi­ons League Team of the Week from the open­ing round of matches in the group stage.

“This was like the first year when he joined us.” Mosi­mane said. “It was hec­tic with in­juries. But in­juries are part of foot­ball. You have to ac­cept and un­der­stand that th­ese things hap­pen. But even with the in­juries, when­ever he is on the pitch – he re­ally shows that I am im­por­tant at the club, I am a good foot­ball player and I play with my heart when I am in­jury free. He helped us. He scores when he is there.”

What’s been re­mark­able about the sit­u­a­tion is the pro­fes­sion­al­ism from the club and the Zim­bab­wean de­spite reach­ing an impasse in the con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions in Jan­uary.

Even though it has been cer­tain for some time that Bil­liat would go at the end of the sea­son, as he didn’t sign an ex­ten­sion of the con­tract that ends in June which meant he could have signed a pre­con­tract in Jan­uary, the club has con­sis­tently played him and he has de­liv­ered.

“We played Kea­gan

Dolly un­til his last match,” Mosi­mane said. “We played Bon­gani Zungu un­til his last match. We’ll play Khama un­til his last match, why not? He’s been proper when­ever he comes in. You saw him against Ajax, he wasn’t even fully fit but he came, scored and he con­trib­uted. He’s been good. When­ever he is there, he’s showed a very good and pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. He’s ma­tured now. He is no longer a young­ster. We are happy with him.

“I would love to have a player like Khama again for the next three years at Sun­downs.”

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