WARRIORS forward Khama Billiat (pictured) has continued to attract rave reviews following a string of outstanding performances by the Sundowns man in the Caf Champions League with the latest plaudits coming from respected Uganda coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic.
BY HENRY MHARA
With so much praise being poured on the Zimbabwean footballer, who is lighting up the Caf Champions League with one top performance after another, the stage is set for the attacker to finally climb onto the podium for a top African award.
The Mamelodi Sundowns star was this year deservedly voted South Africa Player of the Season, among several other individual accolades in a season where he led his team to league glory, but with the way he is playing, more could be coming his way.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has said Billiat is now ready for Europe and Micho seems to be concurring after watching the midfielder’s outstanding performance in Sundowns’ 2-1 victory over Zamalek of Egypt in a Caf Champions League match on Sunday.
Micho, who has vast experience in African football, having coached clubs such as Orlando Pirates, Young Africans, Al-Hilal Omdurman and the Rwanda national team, took to social networking site Twitter to praise Billiat for his instrumental role in the victory.
Billiat capped the performance with a wonder goal, which eventually proved decisive as Sundowns edged closer to the semi-finals of the premier continental club football tournament.
He was unlucky to see his attempt from a tight angle cannon off the crossbar, with Tiyani Mabunda pouncing on the rebound for Sundowns’ opener.
Micho believes the Aces Youth Academy product is among Africa’s finest footballers.
“Watching teammate of our D (Dennis) Onyango Zim livewire Khama Billiat last night in Cairo made me believe he is now in top 10 best players in Africa,” Micho wrote on his Twitter handle.
Having already guided Zimbabwe to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals with three goals in the qualifiers so far, winning the Caf Champions League with Sundowns would edge him closer to winning the African Footballer of the Year (based in Africa) award.
Sundowns host Zamalek in the reverse fixture in two weeks’ time where a point is enough for them to qualify for the semis of the Champions League ahead of their trip to Enyimba of Nigeria for the final group game.
Billiat has previously been linked with moves to different European destinations among them Holland, France and Belgium.
He is already planning for next season, although it is not clear whether he will still be playing in South Africa, with speculation about his future swirling.
“I am prepared to double the effort and do even better. I want to bring the best out of myself again, I want to do better than I did last season. So whatever I have been doing last season, I want to do double now and see what it will all bring on the table later. It is going to be challenging, it is not going to be easy, but I just pray to God not to have injuries, but I am ready and willing to work myself up,” Billiat told South African media yesterday.
Such is the determination of the 25-year-old — who was raised in the rough township of Mufakose in Harare — that he actually feels like he didn’t achieve anything last season.
“With the way I want to win more, I don’t even feel like I won anything last season. I feel like there is nothing that happened because I want to achieve better. I want to work so hard that I put myself in a situation whereby I don’t even see the trophies, I just put them in the cardboard box and I don’t see them so that I always stay motivated and continue feeling like I haven’t won anything.
“That is how I believe I will be able to achieve more and more. Personal accolades are things that I want to look at when I hang up my boots. That will be the time to be admiring and counting all the awards and trophies. It will only make sense to look at them then. For now it feels like I am just arriving and I still have so much more to play for.
I have never reached the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League let alone win it, so there are just way too many things to work for.”