Why not Khama?

WHY NOT KHAMA NEWRobson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
KHAMA Billiat might have overshadowed Keegan Dolly in Super Diski last season, with the Zimbabwean forward making a clean sweep of the individual honours, but the South African midfielder could be the first of the dynamic Mamelodi Sundowns’ duo to make a move to Europe.

Billiat, who turned 26 last Friday, was largely expected to make the grade to Europe during the current transfer window which closes on Wednesday next week.

But the good money now is on his Sundowns’ teammate, Dolly, to make the move to the big stage of European football where all the world’s best players ply their trade.

The Zimbabwe international has been outstanding for Sundowns, in the CAF Champions League, scoring in winning causes for the Brazilians in matches against African football giants ES Setif of Algeria and Egyptian powerhouse Zamalek, and helping the Brazilians qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.

He was left on the bench yesterday, as Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane rested his star players, for the group game against Enyimba of Nigeria whose second half was played in atrocious conditions after a thunderstorm pounded Port Harcourt, with the South African champions slumping to a 1-3 defeat.

It was Sundowns’ first defeat in the group stages of the Champions League this season but came in a dead rubber after the Pretoria side had already secured their place in the semi-finals having won their previous three games.

There had been a wave of expectations that Billiat will move to Europe, during the current transfer window, with some reports even linking him with a move to France.

However, it appears that it’s his teammate, Dolly, who could make the move to Europe first with Sundowns appearing resigned to losing the South African star either in the current transfer window or in January next year,

The Brazilians have already started to prepare for life without Dolly by recruiting Ivorian play-maker, Yannick Zakri, from ASEC Mimosas.

Egyptian publication KingFut claims that Sundowns will splash $350 000 for the services of Zakri, who plays in the same position as Dolly, with the Ivorian having been expected to arrive in Pretoria either yesterday, or anytime this week, to complete the deal.

The Egyptian publication say that ASEC Mimosas, whose business model thrives on developing and selling their best players, have already accepted Sundowns’ offer.

Egyptian giants, Al Ahly, the record African champions, were also reported to be interested in Zakri but they reportedly offered $200 000 for the player and were beaten in the bidding process by the South African Moneybags.

Dolly is reported to have attracted the interest of a number of European clubs, following impressive showing for South Africa at the Olympics in Brazil where he captained his country, with Greek side Olympiacos said to be ready to splash money on the midfielder.

Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport believes Dolly could be signed by French side Stade Rennais.

But, with everything pointing to Dolly making the first move to Europe, Billiat’s situation is likely to generate a lot of debate in South Africa, Zimbabwe and in other parts of the continent.

Already, a number of seasoned African journalists have been using the interactive Football Africa Arena, where they interact with the game’s leaders, agents and sponsors, to question why Billiat hasn’t made the grade into Europe.

Some of journalists have been wondering whether Billiat is a victim of poor management given they believe that, by now, his skills should have flown him to a European club.

Others feel that Billiat, who carries a price tag of about R40 million rand, has been priced out of the market with a number of European clubs not keen on paying more than $3 million for a player from Super Diski. Egyptian side, Ahly, were said to be interested in paying R18 million for the forward.

Sundowns repaid Billiat and Dolly for their influence in leading them to the league championship last season by naming them as the vice captains of the club with Hlompo Kekana, who was also outstanding, becoming the new club skipper.

Kekana replaces Ramahlwe Mphahlele who moved to rivals Kaizer Chiefs.

Five years ago, Billiat saw his then Ajax Cape Town teammate, Thulani Serero, win the South African Footballer of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards and then move to Europe to join Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam.

Serero has since played in the UEFA Champions League. Billiat’s Warriors teammate, Knowledge Musona, who used Super Diski as a launching pad for a career in Europe where he has since established himself in Belgium, has been urging his national teammate to come and join him in the big leagues where the majority of the best players in the world ply their trade.

Musona and Billiat were key figures as the Warriors ended 10 years of waiting for a place at the Nations Cup finals, securing qualification with a game to spare, after winning three matches, beating Malawi home-and-away, and drawing the other two against Guinea and Swaziland.

The Warriors are currently the only Southern African side to qualify for the 2017 Nations Cup finals, and it’s likely to remain the case after the final round of fixtures next month, after Zambia’s protests that Guinea Bissau had used an ineligible player in their group matches, were dismissed by CAF this week.

Those who want to see Billiat moving to Europe could also be hoping that the Zimbabwean international could use the Nations Cup finals in Gabon, which has a bigger audience in terms of European scouts, to make his case for a move.

Pin It
  • Gamatox Mutasa

    Khama is a victim of our politics Robson.Everything Zimbabwean is frowned upon and if you want to make it you have to do twice or thrice harder what other countries are doing.People read newspapers about political instability,police brutality etc and all that is used against us.Khama i agree is way out of Dolly’s league and he should have won a European contract ages ago.But i think imboudzawo vakuru vari kutonga awo kuti zvavari kuita zviri kuzokonzeresa maplayers edu to suffer.Just last week we read stories of how the Mighty warriors were treated after representing Zimbabwe.Look at how SA treated their sportmen.

    • Hurungudo

      Oh My God! Then Libya, DR Congo, South Sudan, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, CAR, Saudi Arabia etc would never have their local players recruited by European clubs? Costa Nhamoinesu, Knowledge Musona and others must prepare to be sent back because your country is ” badly run”! How more stupid can a person reason?

  • hunzi007

    Poor agencies Robson. Some agencies are so weak as they fail to entice teams and force a trial. Billiat has worked so hard and it does not make any sense that Mushekwi makes the grade to go to Sweden and then China whilst Billiat doesn’t. To me this does not make any sense. Just Billiat’s first touch, sublime dribbling skills, explosive pace, good technic and intelligence with the ball can have some teams drooling with saliva. On the other hand Mamelodi sundowns always overprice players out of market so as to hold on them and I have seen it particularly with foreigners. South African players always get decent pricing as they are more worried about developing their own talent. Imagine Zungu was given a clearance few months ago and now they are about to clear Dolly. Mushekwi was tied down with a prohibitive contract despite being not in the coach’s plans and he never kicked the ball afterwards. They tried it on Mahachi but they never thought he was so talented. Sundowns doesn’t promote foreign players and they always try to cover costs of their shoddy deals. Imagine who can give R10 mil plus 2 international players just for 1 player who is not so consistent.

  • Emru Kunanti

    Ingawani wataura kuti Dolly uyo was spotted kuma Olympics where he captained for his country. Simple mathematics! So Khama must also shine at AFCON to be spotted by european clubs…..