Khama Billiat being chased by Egyptian duo Al Ahly and Zamalek

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EGYPTIAN giants Al Ahly and Zamalek have launched separate but audacious bids for on-fire Mamelodi Sundowns talisman Khama Billiat with either side seeking to prize him away from the South African Premiership champions. Billiat’s stock has been rising since he moved from modest Ajax Cape Town to Sundowns. khama-billiat-story

The 25-year-old Zimbabwe international underlined his growing status when being named the best player in the ABSA Premiership for the 2015-16 season.

In a memorable season, Billiat swept all the major individual awards including being voted Kick Off’s Footballer of the Season by the top-selling South African soccer magazine.

Billiat has also continued with his brilliant form in the CAF Champions League where he has inspired Sundowns to within a point of a semi-final place. He also scored a brilliant 67th minute goal as Sundowns upstaged Zamalek 2-1 in Cairo last weekend.

His fine overall show in that game appears to have cast away any lingering doubts about the full value of the player who has also attracted interest from French, Belgian and Chinese clubs.

In a rare move, record eight-time African Champions Al Ahly and their bitter Egyptian foes Zamalek who are have won the continental title on five occasions taken their rivalry away from the fields in Cairo to the hunt for Billiat’s signature.

It has emerged that the two clubs have been racking Billiat’s performances and after being convinced that the Zimbabwean is the real deal, they have dispatched agents representing them on separate missions to try and lure the forward away from Sundowns.

But it was not immediately clear by last night whether Sundowns are ready to let go one of their most prized possessions for any fee.

The Herald can, however, reveal that the Red Devils as Al Ahly are affectionately known by their legions of fans, dispatched their agent Shady Mostafa El-Tawila to negotiate with Sundowns on their behalf.

Sources close to the goings on at Sundowns indicated that Al Ahly Football director Abdel — Aziz Abdel Shafi issued the authorisation to El-Tawila at the end of last week.

“We would like to authorise you personally to start the discussions with Mamelodi Sundowns FC of South Africa regarding the possible transfer of the above mentioned player (Khama Billiat) . . . ”

Part of the conditions that Al Ahly laid down were that the agent would only negotiate “all terms of the potential transfer including the financial terms but would not be allowed to conclude any contract without the express approval of the club”.

Similarly, Zamalek have also tabled their offer to Sundowns for Billiat.

The Sundowns’ golden boy who bagged more than three top awards in the 2015-2016 ABSA Premiership has also charmed top clubs from Asia and Europe.

“There is a scramble for Khama Billiat’s signature from some overseas clubs.

“Three French top-flight clubs are chasing for the Warriors talisman. About four in Belgium are making inquiries for the same man.

“Interest in Khama has really multiplied as even clubs from China and North Africa are all after him,” said the source.

French Ligue 1 giants AS Monaco are understood to be planning on sending their agents to South Africa this week.

The agents are expected to meet with Sundowns over the weekend to discuss on the possible transfer of the Warriors man.

AS Monaco’s top-flight rivals, Lille OSC are also understood to be interested in Billiat’s services with the Ligue 1 team said to be lining up a lucrative offer for the player who turns 26 next month.

Yet Billiat could choose money over ”football development” as a super-rich Chinese club is reportedly ready to break the bank to secure his signature.

While a host of clubs are lining up their bids for Billiat his fellow Zimbabwean international Cuthbert Malajila has left Sundowns after being transferred to Bidvest Wits.

Malajila, however, believes the move could be a blessing n disguise as he looks to be assured of game time at his new club Bidvest Wits.

The 30-year-old, who has been with the Pretoria side for the last three seasons, was involved in a swap deal with the Clever Boys along with Botswana star Mogakolodi Ngele as part of a bargain that saw Sibusiso Vilakazi move in the opposite direction.

Malajila made 54 starts for Sundowns in Premier Soccer League competitions, scoring 20 goals, but had fallen out of favour in the pecking order last season with the rise of the deadly combination of Leonardo Castro, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly, commonly referred to as CBD.

The trio was in top form last season and contributed a total of 24 league goals to help the side win the championship in impressive fashion.

However, Malajila who has also been involved in the side’s Champions League campaign said he was still happy to leave the moneybags and pursue new challenges.

The striker yesterday tweeted: “The key to a great life is an everlasting commitment always to move . . . Am happy to announce am now a Bidvest Wits FC player (I) can’t wait to join my new teammates (in a) new environment.”

Wits yesterday welcomed the duo of Malajila and Ngele when they posted on their website that they had finally agreed with Sundowns for the swap deal.

Sundowns have long made their interests in Vilakazi but it was believed that the 10 million rand price tag that was placed on the player had stalled negotiations before the sides settled on the swap option.

Wits also announced that they had signed Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet. A statement on the Bidvest Wits website yesterday said they have since agreed with Sundowns on the transfers of Malajila and Ngele.

“Bidvest Wits FC are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement with Mamelodi Sundowns for the transfer of Sibusiso Vilakazi to Mamelodi Sundowns for an undisclosed transfer fee as well as the transfers of Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele to Bidvest Wits FC.

“The players involved have all agreed personal terms with their respective new clubs and the transfers are, therefore, effective immediately,” read the statement.

Malajila’s local agent, Gibson Mahachi, said the move was good for the Warriors striker as he has been struggling to get first team jersey of late in Pitso Mosimane’s side.

“I think it’s more to do with him getting game time. So it’s good for him because what is important in every player’s career is the opportunity for game time. Cuthbert is an experienced player, he has played at the highest stage in the Champions League for many years

“He is happy with the move and that’s important as well,” said Mahachi.

Malajila was part of the Warriors squad that qualified for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to be played in Gabon. Mahachi said it was to his advantage if he plays regularly. He arrives at the Clever Boys at a time when compatriots Onismor Bhasera and Denver Mukamba have just left. Bhasera has joined SuperSport United while Mukamba has returned home to Dynamos.

Source – Herald

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