What to focus on in terms of sports this weekend: Billiat shifts focus, Mapeza back in business. Chiefs are set to face Cameroonian champions PWD Bamenda, who will be making their continental debuts, in the preliminary round first leg. Amakhosi will be returning to the African stage for the first time in four years, after finishing as runners-up in the domestic Premiership last season.
Kaizer Chiefs forward, Khama Billiat, has opened up about the club’s CAF Champions League journey, which kicks off tomorrow in Cameroon. Billiat is one of a number of Zimbabweans involved in the CAF inter-club tournaments this weekend. His former national team coach, Norman Mapeza, returns to Champions League action in Mozambique tomorrow. He will guide FC Platinum into what could be a tough duel against Costa do Sol in Maputo.
The last time Costa do Sol hosted a Zimbabwean side, they beat Dynamos 2-1 in 2008 but they had lost the first leg 0-3 in Harare, with Edward Sadomba hitting a hattrick.
“It feels great, as you are aware, I have been here for quite some time and it’s good to see everybody again,’’ Mapeza said. “Everyone is in good health and I have just come here to work.
“I still have to see what is on the ground. It’s difficult to set yourself some targets at the end of it but you have to work. “You have to continue from where the guys left. “As you are aware, we have a massive game over the weekend against Costa do Sol, so we have to be prepared.”
In Cameroon, Billiat, who previously helped Mamelodi Sundowns to the Champions League title back in 2016 along with the likes of Leonardo Castro and Ramahlwe Mphahlele, believes the competition has not changed over the years and feels they are capable of doing well.
“I have played Champions League before with a couple of the guys and the team has played it before, I think there’s nothing new,” Billiat told the club’s media team.
“It’s just the way we’re going to approach each and every game. It’s very important to know when you’re playing away and it’s very important to know when you’re playing at home – every result has to have a meaning behind it.
“I feel like we have a good team and we need to go out there, challenge in Africa and take this team back to where it belongs, and I think it starts now.
“IWe needed this [to play in the Champions League], we needed also to test ourselves with big teams out there.” Club chairman Kaizer Motaung has underlined why it is important to get a good start in the tournament.
“It happens in our 50th-anniversary milestone. And it happens when Cameroon is preparing to host the Africa Cup of Nations. “So, we are going out there to fly the South African flag with pride. I wish the team a safe journey and victory on Sunday.”
Amakhosi fans could certainly do with something to celebrate, as could coach Gavin Hunt and his players, after what has been a really tough start to the new season.
The Soweto giants have won only two of eight matches this term and have scored just five times. Their latest setback came in midweek when they conceded a late goal to lose 1-0 to newly-promoted Swallows FC.
Hunt’s problems have been compounded with some injuries to key players and the likes of Samir Nurkovic and Reeve Frosler remain sidelined, while the Fifa transfer ban has left him with limited squad options. It’s also been a long five years since Chiefs, South Africa’s most popular club, have won any silverware at all.
Source – The Herald
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