JOHANNESBURG. — Zimbabwe’s Khama Billiat played a pivotal role for Kaizer Chiefs in their 1-0 victory over Angolan side Primeiro de Agosto on Tuesday night that sealed a first ever place for the South African Premiership football club in the group stages of the CAF Champions League. Billiat lifted the elite African club competition trophy with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 and believes this Chiefs side can spring a surprise this year as they now wait to see their fate in tomorrow’s pool stage draw.
Here Billiat (KB) speaks with SuperSport (SS) after Tuesday night’s historic victory for Amakhosi:
SuperSport: Kaizer Chiefs have qualified for the group stages of the Champions League for the first time, how does that feel?
Khama Billiat: “It is a great feeling, credit goes to the technical team and the entire squad for their preparation. The whole effort that the chairman (Kaizer Motaung) has put in everyone is really important for us to test ourselves with the rest of the Champions League giants.
“It gives us confidence going back to our domestic competition. We really want to go all the way, to make a difference, and push ourselves to the limit and to see how far we can compete in Africa.
“I must give credit to the guys, we worked so hard, we stuck to the game-plan. It wasn’t easy, and it is going to be very tough (in the group stages), but we only learn and grow as a team and make sure we gel together and fight for one another.”
SS: You provided the assist for Leonardo Castro’s winning goal with a great run and cross from the left flank …
KB “Normally the coach is always on my case, saying that ‘your strength is to run behind the defenders and make sure to finish the play’. As soon as Njabulo (Blom) and (Philani) Zulu got the ball, I just turned and gave them my back and started running.
“Exactly as I expected, Njabulo put the ball behind the defence. It made it easy for me as it left me one-on-one with the defender. I knew I just had to eliminate him and then I know my player is in the box and Castro was in the right place at the right time.
SS: This win was achieved without a number of your most experienced stars. That must give you a lift in a way?
KB: “It shows the quality we have, everyone is important in the squad. We really needed to step up with them not around and do what they were going to do.
“Guys like Itu (Itumeleng Khune), (Willard) Katsande and (Lebo) Manyama were not here, but we speak to them on the phone, they motivate us in the group, and they are still part of the team.
“They give us confidence, just seeing their motivation. It shows that no matter if one of us is not in, injured or not in the selection, the ones that will play will fight on the day.
“We also needed to fight for them, because we know if they were here they would have done the same.
SS: Does this fuel your passion even more to lift a trophy with Kaizer Chiefs?
“I personally believe that we have to go all the way, we need to be the generation that does what the best generations of this club have achieved in the past. “This club has a very good history and we don’t want to be the ones that are not pulling our weight. We want to do what they have done and make our chairman proud. It has been too long (without a trophy). — SuperSport.com