By Petros Kausiyo in POLOKWANE, South Africa
Influential Zimbabwe and Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Khama Billiat says he wants to mark his long-awaited return to the national team in style by winning the COSAFA Cup.
Billiat has not played for the Warriors since their participation at the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon, with injuries and club commitments forcing him to miss the start of the 2019 qualifiers against Liberia last year.
He has not played for the Warriors in the COSAFA senior men’s competition and they prepare to face Botswana, who won Group B after a 6-0 win over Mauritius yesterday, in tomorrow’s quarter-final at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium.
“We are now here after a good trip from Harare and we are always looking to the positive side.
“As players, we always work hard at our clubs in order to represent the nation and this is another opportunity to do well,’’ said Billiat.
‘’We travelled well and got here safely and we don’t want to bring any negative energy around the camp because we are one happy family.
“For me it’s a blessing to be back and I wish I could be playing for the Warriors every weekend, so to be here and joining the national team camp is a blessing and opportunity I always respect.
“I know that everyone is looking at us to make some history and win the COSAFA again. I also know that everyone, not just Zimbabwean players, are going to try and impress the scouts because you don’t know who is watching.
“I still want to do my best for the team, I am never satisfied with performances and I must always try and improve and reward God for the talent that he gave me.’’
With his close friend and captain Knowledge Musona having been ruled out because of injury, Billiat said he was ready to play another key role for the Warriors.
“I am using this tournament to see how far I am and how far I can bring the best out of the Khama that the nation wishes to see,’’ he said.
‘’Of course it’s not about personal glory and I think we are professional enough to handle the pressure that will come our way. It is our daily lives and if you do not get any pressure on you as a player, then maybe it means you are not good enough.
“But the coach has brought a squad that is all talented and I think we are going to help each other for the cause of Zimbabwe. If you are in a group of talented players like we have, it makes it a lot easier.
“It only becomes a problem if we don’t respect each other, but we are fortunate to have a very close group. And for people like me to be here, we came through a lot of support from many people along the way and I have to use my experience to support the new guys that are here with us.”
Billiat said the Warriors were also banking on the support of the many Zimbabweans who are staying in South Africa to aid them to glory.
“South Africa is our second home and we believe we have a lot of Zimbabweans here who will come.
“If we get a lot of support, it will also help us manage the game and boost our morale,’’ Billiat said. The Herald