By Eddie Chikamhi
As Khama Billiat continues to charm the Kaizer Chiefs family, his former coach Pitso Mosimane appears to be still bitter with the forwards’ decision to leave Mamelodi Sundowns, torching a fierce storm over the weekend following his shock outburst at the Zimbabwean’s Man of the Match award accolade.
Sundowns hosted Chiefs in the ABSA Premiership 2018-19 season opener at Loftus Versefeld, in an entertaining affair that ended 1-1. Billiat was named Man of the Match for the second successive game against his former team.
But the decision by the SuperSport commentators to award Billiat the Man of the Match accolade in the league draw, somehow seems to have got under Mosimane’s skin and the champions coach did not hide his feelings in his post-match interview.
It appeared Mosimane had a different view on who should have received the award after the commentators had given it to the 27-year-old Zimbabwean.
Mosimane said he felt that Billiat did not do enough on Saturday to win the award.
“Can I ask who chooses the man of the match? Is it the SMS like in the Shell Cup? Who is the man of the match? What did he (Billiat) do?” retorted Mosimane before walking away from SuperSport’s Robert Marawa.
The coach’s comments, however, ignited a social media storm which left many fans divided. Some supporters felt Billiat deserved the award and criticised the coach for being unprofessional in his approach.
Others argued that Mosimane may not have gotten over the disappointment of losing one of his best players to their bitter rivals when he still needed him to drive the Brazilians in the same manner he had done in the last five years when they amassed silverware.
There are also rumours that Billiat could have been an unfortunate victim in the feud between Mosimane and Marawa.
While his former coach might have shown some sour grapes, Billiat was unperturbed by the whole episode with the Warriors forward accepting the award and insisting that there was still room for improvement for himself and the team following the draw against Sundowns.
“Firstly, I want to thank God for this opportunity and the supporters who have come in numbers to support the team.
“I know it has been tough for the past three seasons but it’s water under the bridge. We’re ready to start the league,” said Billiat.
“It was a tough match, Sundowns are a good side. I think we have done a lot of things we wanted to do and there is still room for improvement.
“I want to thank the teammates, the club and the coach for those opportunities. It’s really important to start on a high and hopefully it will take us through the league.
“I think we created not as many (chances) as we wanted to but there were moments where we could’ve taken our chances but it’s one of those things. It’s a learning curve, we learn every day. We take it positively.
“We are not too hard on ourselves, we take it one game as it comes.”
Billiat made headlines recently when he opted not to extend his stay at Sundowns at the expiry of his contract but he left a disgruntled man as he felt Sundowns did not fully appreciate his value in the team after helping them win three league titles, the CAF Champions League, the CAF Super Cup and some domestic silverware during a five-year stay.
His agent Mike Ngobeni told South Africa’s Kick-off Magazine that Billiat “made the best decision contrary to the criticism’’ that he has been receiving from some quarters that have questioned his move to stay in South Africa at the expense of Europe or Asia and cited it as lack of ambition.
“He just wanted to change the jersey. Khama wants to be happy and play football. Khama loves Chiefs, plus this is a club that has a good history with Zimbabwean players. If the player says out of all the 12 offers I brought him he is taking the Chiefs deal, then that is it.
“What is the point of taking a player to Saudi Arabia, then after three months he calls and tells you he wants to come back?”
“People are blinded by overseas moves. They just see PSG and think it is like that all over France. Only six clubs pay good money in France. Andile Jali is back now and I can promise you that he is earning more than what he was earning at his former club in Belgium. Should I take Khama to Sweden? Like really? Which club there? Sweden is very cold and the clubs are not very big. “People shouldn’t undermine the PSL when they have never moved around enough to understand what Europe is really about. I travelled extensively wanting to get the best for Khama, but this is the best decision he made,” said Ngobeni. Meanwhile, Kaitano Tembo made a false start to his tenure as head coach of SuperSport United when his side fell 2-0 to hosts Cape Town City in their opening match on Saturday night.
Tembo was finally handed the reins at SuperSport with the 47-year-old coach being given an initial two-year contract to steer the ship.
The former Zimbabwe international lamented the poor start in an interview with IOL.
“It was the first game and we wanted to have a good start, we wanted to give a good performance.
“We created some good chances, but didn’t take it. In football, if you don’t take your chances, you can’t win. But, against City, we were also up against a good team, and they took their chances.
“Overall, though, I’m happy, despite the defeat, and there are lots of positives to take from the game. We were unlucky at times, we were also unlucky with a penalty shout, and we got into areas where we could influence the game,” said Tembo.