Great be­trayal:

Fury over Khama's treat­ment by Sun­downs' team­mates

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Rob­son Sharuko Se­nior Sports Ed­i­tor

SIX years af­ter his en­dorse­ment by Manch­ester United legend Rio Fer­di­nand opened the doors for a move to South African giants Mamelodi Sun­downs, Khama Bil­liat is at the cen­tre of a so­cial me­dia ex­plo­sion with scores of foot­ball fans fu­ri­ous over the way he was treated as an out­cast by some of his team­mates on Wed­nes­day night.

The Zim­babwe in­ter­na­tional for­ward, who turns 28 next month, is in the fi­nal phase of his ro­mance with the South African cham­pi­ons and is set to leave the Brazil­ians at the ex­piry of his con­tract at the end of June amid re­ports he could be on his way to Europe.

Bil­liat was thrown into the start­ing XI by Sun­downs coach Pitso Mosi­mane in the Man­dela Cen­te­nary Chal­lenge Cup show­down against Barcelona at the FNB Sta­dium which the Span­ish giants, who showed the gulf in class be­tween the two sides in the first half be­fore re­treat­ing into sec­ond gear in the sec­ond pe­riod, ran away 3-1 win­ners.

Sun­downs pres­i­dent Pa­trice Mot­sepe is re­ported to have paid a cool 3 mil­lion eu­ros to bring Barcelona to South Africa for their one­day adventure although the wealthy busi­ness­man also ran other huge costs in char­ter­ing the plane which brought the Cata­lan giants to South Africa.

But while Barcelona’s de­ci­sion to come for the hugely sym­bolic match was largely hailed, with thou­sands of fans packed in the FNB Sta­dium get­ting a chance to watch Lionel Messi in ac­tion, ques­tions are now be­ing asked over the way Bil­liat ap­peared to be frozen out of the team’s at­tack by some of his team­mates in that match.

Some fans even claim this was meant to en­sure Bil­liat did not ex­plode, as he usu­ally does, to draw a larger global au­di­ence, which was fol­low­ing the match live on tele­vi­sion, to his tal­ents now that he is weigh­ing his op­tions as his Sun­downs con­tract runs out.

Bil­liat will leave as a free agent, which means he can ne­go­ti­ate his terms, af­ter re­peated at­tempts by the South African cham­pi­ons to ex­tend his con­tract at the club failed.

In­ter­est­ingly, the match on Wed­nes­day came ex­actly six years af­ter Bil­liat ran rings around the Manch­ester United defence, while play­ing for Ajax Cape Town, in a pre-sea­son friendly, which opened the doors for him to move to a big­ger club like Sun­downs.

That Ajax side held United to a 1-1 draw at the Cape Town Sta­dium and Fer­di­nand was left show­er­ing a lot of praise on the Zim­bab­wean for­ward.

“If they are re­ally youngsters, they have quite a few of re­ally good play­ers. Their two cen­tre halves (Nazeer Allie and Matthew Booth), but their num­ber 11 (Khama Bil­liat) is their most ex­cit­ing player for me,” Fer­di­nand told a South African foot­ball web­site Foot­ball411.com af­ter the match.

“He is good when in po­si­tion, good ball con­trol and a can use his speed re­ally well. Over­all, an ex­cit­ing player.”

Bil­liat went on to star at Sun­downs, whom he helped win suc­ces­sive league cham­pi­onships in South Africa, and be­come the first club from that coun­try to be crowned cham­pi­ons of Africa in more than 20 years while they also fea­tured at the FIFA Club World Cup.

How­ever, on Wed­nes­day night, Bil­liat could not im­pose him­self on the game as he strug­gled for ser­vice from his team­mates and now a so­cial me­dia back­lash has erupted with some claim­ing the for­ward was de­lib­er­ately be­ing frozen out of the game by some of his team­mates.

His team­mates Percy Tau and Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi, who scored the Sun­downs goal in the sec­ond half af­ter find­ing space in­side the box and hav­ing the com­po­sure to stroke the ball home, were tar­geted in that so­cial me­dia fury.

A lot of the fu­ri­ous feed­back was posted on Bil­liat’s Face­book page af­ter the for­ward posted a picture from the big match in which he out-sprinted Barcelona de­fender Ger­ard Pique and at­tached a cap­tion that read, ‘’In God We Trust.’’

Here are some of the re­sponses: FELIX GOMO

‘’You were get­ting on good scor­ing po­si­tion but what I’m not get­ting is why Percy and Villa were not pass­ing the ball to you , you (are a) far much ac­com­plished player com­pared to them, tac­ti­cally, and fur­ther­more you per­form much bet­ter play­ing out­side left com­pared to main man in front.’’ WIL­LARD MAN­YARI

‘’Khama, al­ways you (are) the best. We love you .Thank you for the de­ci­sion not (to) stay. They don’t like you there . . . I saw they don’t pass you balls. Percy and Vi­lakazi are losers. It’s their cli­max while as I know you are hot­ter than them at the same time you can shine any­where you go.’’ LALA THATO

‘’You did your best . . . But Vila & Tau what they did wasn’t right at all, it was like you weren’t there at the ground . . . They were not pass­ing ball to you.’’ GIFT MH­LANGA

‘’Boy, they don’t like YOU, they are not pass­ing you (the ball), foot­ball it’s team­work and you can’t per­form alone.’’ SERLIN SHONHIWA

‘’You played well shaaa, those guys vachin­gomhanya all over not pass­ing you the balls. They fear you . . . your fu­ture is brighter man . . . big up. You played beau­ti­fully . . . dai manga muri team yemhanga mhanga makaro­hwa 7-0 but well done.’’ LUNGISANIE LOOMUDE WAKA LUSHABA

‘’When you watch the re­peat (of the game) you will see that your play­ers didn’t wanna pass you the ball, with your quick feet and spa­ces you were in.’’ BLESS­ING MDARA

‘’Keep it on Bil­liat, isu tinokut­si­gira nyangwe vachikun­y­ima bhora, chik­wama Tau uyo naMatemba Zwane havafe vakasvika palevel yauri hama.’’ GOD­FREY MUTOMBE

‘’You showed class man, wakapenga, they didn’t want to pass you (the ball) but you where pass­ing (the ball to) them apa hav­agoni bhora racho.’’ DE ONLAE NCUBE

‘’Hands up to you boss . . . even if they didn’t want to give you the balls.’’

To Page 11

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.