Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
KHAMA BILLIAT’S father, Mustapha, says he is praying for Kaizer Chiefs to win the South African Premiership this season to help give his son the space he badly needs, to decide his future.
The Amakhosi have been struggling to complete the mission, of winning their first league title in five years, after blowing what had looked like an unassailable 10-point lead in the marathon.
They find themselves with the same number of points as defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, although they lead the race by a superior goal difference.
A 0-1 defeat at the hands of Bidvest Wits, in their last match, appeared to have opened the door for the Brazilians to take control of the championship race.
However, Sundowns also stumbled, falling 0-1 to a determined Baroka on the same day on Sunday.
Chiefs have been barely recognisable, as the club which played with a swagger on their way to opening up a healthy lead, and have been playing without both shape and spirit.
Pressure has been mounting, in their camp, with each poor result, while most of the criticism has been heaped on Zimbabwe international footballer, Billiat.
Some have even gone to the extent of questioning whether the Warriors talisman is indeed 30, with South African football legend, Mlungisi “Professor’’ Ngubane, accusing him of alleged age-cheating.
“Billiat is playing like a player who came here having reduced his age,” Mlungisi told KickOff.com.
“Now, he’s trying but it’s no longer happening. Maybe, he is not even 29. He can’t play like this. Earning so much money and you play like that?
“The heart and the mind wants to do it but the body refuses.” Billiat has scored once this season, the goal coming in September last year. Yesterday, his father Mustapha said Billiat was still the same, if not better player, than the one who won the Player’s Player, Midfielder and Footballer of the Season four years ago.
“My wish is for Kaizer Chiefs to win the league so that Khama will get credit and he will be free to decide whether he still wants to be at Kaizer Chiefs or make a move,” said Mustapha.
“What surprises me is that people only see cause of the problem, through the branches.
“They must see the root cause of the problem because we need to uproot the cause of the problem.’’
Mustapha was speaking in the company of his wife, Rosa, at the family home in Mufakose. He said his son’s loss of form was something that has happened to even the greatest footballers who have graced the game, and they always find a way to get their touch.
However, he said, he was concerned everything appeared amplified when it came to Khama as if he wasn’t part of the human race but an allien who should always perform like a machine.
Mustapha said he once discussed with his son the issue related to his form and Khama told him he was under relentless pressure, from everyone, including the fans and the media. But, said Mustapha, this was normal, a regular chat he has always had with his son, given he was his number one fan.
Mustapha says the fans were justified to complain, because they always expect a lot from Khama, but that should not turn into a lynching exercise where some people were not waiting for him to make a mistake.
He also feels the attacks have become personal which might suggest some there were underhand issues at play.
His mother chipped in, reminding the world, that it should not forget that Khama once experienced a similar dry spell while at Sundowns. “
I remember at one time, at Sundowns, there was talk from fans that “Khama must go and Pitso (Mosimane) must go” but, after that, he fully recovered from an injury,’’ she said.
“He went on to win awards, together with his coach. So, I have seen this before, and know that it happens in football and it shall pass. I am not really worried.
“What I know is Khama is passionate about football, he loves football.
“He knows the bible verses I always give him to read during this period, so the same God who blessed him with this talent, will never forsake him.’’
Rosa is not amused, though, that there are some people who are now questioning her son’s age. She went to the extent of producing Khama’s Immunisation birth record as proof that his son did not alter his age, but was 30.
“My child never cheated, when it comes his age, at any stage in his career,’’ she said.
‘’I kept all my baby cards so that my children, when they grow up, they will show their kids. “But, what I don’t understand is how a professional coach (Ngubane), who players look up to, can say such about my son.
“Maybe, he needs to look himself in the mirror and see what he has achieved, as a coach, because I don’t believe any good coach would really say such things about a player.
“How will he expect players to respect him, as a mentor and a gaffer?’’
Khama has already parted ways with football agent, Michael Ngobeni, of the South African agency, M-Sport Management, who brokered the deal to Kaizer Chiefs.
His father said he was still looking for another football agent.
Khama’s childhood friend, Godfrey “Vokal’’ Bakasa, who has managed musicians such as Seh Calaz and Stunner, is serving as his manager right now.