Khama Billiat proves critics wrong as he powers Kaizer Chiefs one step closer to lift the title. The Zimbabwe international forward has been under relentless pressure, with critics feasting on his poor form this season, while a South African coach even went to the extent of accusing him as an age-cheat.
Khama Billiat kept his name in the headlines, this time for all the right reasons, as his golden goal pushed Kaizer Chiefs to within a touching distance of their first South African Premiership title in five years.
A single league goal, scored in September last year, in a season which has also been marred by injuries, has led many to question whether the Warriors talisman was still the same player, who used to dazzle Supa Diski.
However, when his Amakhosi, who are celebrating their Golden Jubilee this year, needed him the most, Billiat delivered with the golden goal which helped them beat a plucky nine-man Chippa United 1-0 yesterday.
Chiefs have the same number of points as champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who thrashed Polokwane City 3-0 yesterday, but the Glamour Boys have a four-goal advantage in goal difference.
This means they will be crowned champions if they beat Baroka on Saturday, and Sundowns do not better their winning margin by, at least, four goals when the Brazilians take on Black Leopards.
“It’s about points now, it’s about winning now, but I’m happy with the team’s fighting spirit that we needed to show today and will need on Saturday too,” Chiefs manager, Ernst Middendorp, said after the match.
Billiat was at the right place, at the right time, to poke the ball home, with only nine minutes on the clock at the Orlando Stadium, after Samir Nurkovic had flicked the ball into his path.
“It’s not the most beautiful of goals,’’ tweeted Zimbabwean football pundit, Makomborero Mutimukulu, of the Zimpapers Television Network. “However, the manner in which we badly needed this one, in the face of vicious attacks on Billiat and, by extension, our integrity as Zimbabweans, this goal is fabulous. “The biggest statement, for me, was the chilled celebration.
“Many a player would have used that moment to send a message to critics, perhaps cup an ear or place a finger on the lips, but Khama Billiat was classy.’’ Mutimukulu has been one of Billiat’s biggest supporters in the media during the Warriors star’s dark days.
In the injury-enforced absence of first-choice goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Middendorp put his trust in club legend Itumeleng Khune, and handed the veteran the captain’s armband. The Chilli Boys, a goal down at the interval, made an attacking change at the start of the second half when they brought Nigerian striker Augustine Kwem off the bench.
They certainly improved in attack and built up some pressure, but midway through the second half they were reduced to 10 men. Tercious Malepe was given his marching orders for cynically hacking down Billiat, on a counter-attack, with the referee of the opinion that the Chippa man had denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
But Chippa continued to fight against the odds and were unlucky to have an equalising header from substitute Boikanyo Komane ruled out for a phantom foul on Khune. Goal or no goal was the big question in the SuperSport TV studios after the match. And all the pundits, Amanda Dlamini, Jimmy Tau and Mark Williams were in agreement that it was a goal.
The Chilli Boys went down to nine players in the 88th minute when substitute Elvis Moyo was dismissed for a studs-up challenge on Ramahlwe Mphahlele, ending any hopes of a thrilling finale to the match.
Sundowns remain in the hunt for the title after goals from Anele Ncongca, Themba Zwane and Keletso Makgalwa helped them condemn George Chigova and his Polokwane City into relegation.
Polokwane are bottom and can only get to 28 points, where second-from-bottom Baroka sit right now, but — with Chigova’s team having an eight-goal inferior goal difference — they are doomed.
Walter Musona is another Zimbabwean at Polokwane City. To his credit, Chigova made a couple of notable saves before finally being beaten in the 39th minute.
A corner kick saw Ricardo Nascimento direct an effort on target from his body — Chigova made a fine stop, but Anele Ngcongca was on hand to sweep home the rebound and put Sundowns 1-0 up.
It was 2-0 just four minutes later, as Gaston Sirino fed Themba Zwane, who gracefully moved past a challenge before sweeping home a shot with his left foot to put the Brazilians well and truly in charge heading into the break.
I’m happy the boys played the way we play. Saturday is a cup final, we are not going to give it to anybody. To be where we are now credit must go to the boys,” said Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Kaitano Tembo’s SuperSport United climbed up to third place on the Absa Premiership standings following a comprehensive 4-1 thumping of Baroka FC at Bidvest Stadium yesterday.
Baroka took the lead through Evidence Makgopa but goals from Thamsanqa Gabuza, Grant Kekana, Bradley Grobler and Kudakwashe Mahachi spearheaded Matsatsantsa to all three points. It has been a good campaign for the Zimbabwean coach who already has silverware in his team’s cabinet.
Reports have claimed he was given the challenge to finish among the top three and, after breaking into the 50-points range, Tembo has been one of the stars of this campaign.
SuperSport equalised in the 26th minute through Gabuza who nodded home from a free-kick and Baroka were dealt a further blow shortly after as Sbonelo Ngubane received his marching orders.
The match official was left with little choice but to show Ngubane a red card mere minutes after coming on for the injured Denwin Farmer, following a horrendous tackle on Matsatsantsa’s Guily Manziba who was duly replaced by Mahachi late in the first half.
SuperSport made good use of their man advantage after the break and took the lead through Kekana who punished Baroka after they failed to clear from a corner-kick.
Grobler doubled the hosts’ lead in the 70th minute with a neat back-heal from a Gamphani Lunga cross. The strike took the SuperSport forward up to 14 goals for the campaign as he remains firmly in the running for the golden boot award.
Mahachi’s rasping shot five minutes later completed the rout as SuperSport boosted their chances of playing in Africa next season.
Source – The Herald
In other news – Khama Billiat’s youth coaches speak out after age cheating accusations
Khama Billiat’s youth coaches speak out after age cheating accusations. Billiat’s poor form at an equally struggling Kaizer Chiefs lately saw outspoken South African coach Mlungisi ‘Professor’ Ngubane claiming the Zimbabwean might have joined the Absa Premiership with a reduced age.
Khama Billiat’s developmental coach Expense Chitukutuku has described allegations that the player might have tampered with his age as…Learn more.