Soccer News

Mpandare says referees should protect Khama Billiat for the league to thrive

Former Zimbabwe national teams General Manager Wellington Mpandare says referees in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) must do more to protect Yadah Stars forward Khama Billiat from rough tackles by opponents as his presence on the pitch boots the profile of the league.

Billiat suffered a calf injury when the Miracle Boys lost to Simba Bhora last week and had to be taken off just before halftime.

Speaking in an interview with Soccer24, Mpandare, who reportedly played a key role in convincing Billiat to return home from South Africa, said Simba Bhora players were instructed to hurt Billiat.

He insisted that match officials should protect Billiat, saying his thriving benefits the local premiership. Said Mpandare:

Khama (Billiat) is a brand, in the past years, fans have not been attending games but since he joined Yadah, he has attracted a lot of fans back to the stadiums as witnessed at Hwange (vs Hwange), Mutare (vs Bikita Min), Bulawayo (vs Bulawayo Chiefs) and Harare when Yadah played Dynamos and Simba.

Against Dynamos, more than five thousand fans were turned away because of gate entrance issues, Khama had more fans seated in the City end bay compared to Dynamos fans in the Vietnam end.

It was Khama who attracted most of the fans including Dynamos fans because against Bulawayo Chiefs, Dynamos could not attract even half of the fans with gate entrance issues resolved.

We should take a leaf from Saudi Arabia, who improved their league by attracting top players. In our league, we don’t see the benefit of having players like Khama back.

Case in point, Yadah versus Simba, Simba players were determined to make sure that Khama would not play football again and they almost achieved that, which is sad.

The referee of the day didn’t protect him. Khama was kicked on and off the ball until he got injured. One of the Simba players said he wanted to end Khama’s career. The players, coaches, and referees do not understand the value Khama brings to our league.

The benefits have a ripple effect in our football, good attendances mean referees are paid on time, players are paid on time, PSL, SRC and ZIFA get more and the clubs remain with some money.

Even PSL and the sponsors don’t see the value in Khama, they are not taking advantage of the Khama hype.

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