Charles Mabika Special Correspondent
I HAD a nauseating feeling after I read this paper’s exclusive story in yesterday’s edition about the imminent departure of Warriors star forward, Khama Billiat, from his South African Premiership club, Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Aces Youth Academy product has been going through a torrid time in South Africa, where the media has been hounding him daily like a pack of wolves over his alleged off-the-field “bad boy” tendencies, including wild overnight parties at his residence and frequent absenteeism at Sundowns training ground.
I think its high time “Khamaldinho” moved on in life, “far from the madding crowd” (to borrow one of the titles of the late great English author Thomas Hardy’s classic novels). This negative publicity has been hovering over the skilful forward for quite some time and it has now reached alarming and sickening heights that it’s slowly affecting his everyday demeanour.
My colleague Robson Sharuko, recently revealed in one of his Saturday columns, the effects of “clinical depression” and gave the examples of former England stars Paul Gascoigne and the late Darren Huckerby, who struggled to accept the realities of life after soccer greatness.
Sharuko even touched on similarities with local stars like Roderick Mutuma and Denver Mukamba. While Mutuma and Mukamba seem to be slowly inching their ways back to dizzy heights, the same cannot be said of Gascoigne, who was truly one of the greatest midfielders ever seen on this planet as he still struggles to regain full mental and physical stability following many years that were struck by severe alcoholism.
Luckily for Billiat, at the age 0f 27, he has plenty of time to “strike back at the South African empire” by moving out of that domain and seek greener pastures elsewhere before it’s too late.
It seems like South African sport dumps foreign athletes after they have used them for their own needs. Who can tell me that Joey “Mafero” Antipas truly deserved to be sacked by South African Premiership returnees AmaZulu before a ball has even been kicked in the new 2017-18 season?
It’s not only The Brazilians who have been ungodly at treating our own superstars. Kaizer Chiefs prevented the great Tinashe Nengomasha from being signed by top French side Lens a couple of years ago, only to deem him excess baggage later by offloading him to minnows Bidvest Wits.
For the past four seasons, teams from North Africa, France and Belgium showed keen interest in acquiring the services of Billiat, but the Sundowns hierarchy stood in his way and prevented his departure. Now that he has been bashed left, right and centre by their media, they are considering releasing him. How more vile can people get?
Lest I am accused of just “viewing one side of the coin”, I do concede that Billiat is no saint. His night life binges even when he is back in the country during the off-season are distasteful and cannot be condoned.
But, hey, who doesn’t have any skeletons in his or her cupboard? Who doesn’t deserve a second chance in life?
Billiat deserves to be afforded a second chance, just like any human being. But he has to make that fresh start away from the Supa Diski.
I am sure there are still a number of North African clubs and even a few in France or Belgium who still clamour for the finesse and flair of this silky winger, who almost single-handedly led The Brazilians to their first ever African Champions League title barely 14 months ago.
And more importantly, we still need his astute combination with his close friend and skipper, Knowledge Musona, in our campaign for another showing at the African Cup of Nations show piece in Cameroon in 2019
Go Khama Go!