It’s not unfair to say Zimbabwean striker Khama Billiat hasn’t exploded during his three years at Kaizer Chiefs.
Stats don’t always reveal the full picture but, in Billiat’s case, there has been a clear drop-off, in what are the bread-and-butter numbers, for any forward – goals and assists, as illustrated below, from his time in the South African Premier Soccer League:
Ajax Cape Town
Games played: 92
Average goal involvements (goals and assists) per match: 0.51
Games played: 140
Average goal involvements (goals and assists) per match: 0.64
Games played: 84
Average goal involvements (goals and assists) per match: 0.40
Injuries have played their part, but it’s still plain to see — via the stats and, through observing his general on-field contributions, that Billiat has not been as successful at Chiefs, as he should have been.
Last season he scored just one league goal in 13 appearances.
He’s widely reported to be one of the top earners in the entire league, earning a before-tax annual salary, of around R10 million.
For that kind of investment, and for a player supposedly in the prime years of his career, it’s clear he’s come up short.
The 31-year-old knows what it takes to win the Champions League, having been instrumental in Sundowns’ triumphant 2016 campaign. Now, five years later, he has the chance to do what very few players have done — win the Champions League with different clubs.
Coincidentally, he will be up against the coach he played for, in the 2016 campaign, Pitso Mosimane.
Al Ahly mentor Mosimane will be wary of Billiat’s threat, should he play tomorrow, and will probably assign a defender to stifle the Zimbabwean.
One thing Billiat has not lost too much of is the ability to beat his man, thereby taking an opponent out of the game.
At the very least, that may open up gaps, and opportunities, for the likes of Lebogang Manyama and Samir Nurkovic to exploit.
Chiefs have after all been lacking a creative spark (partly due to Billiat’s absences due to injury as well as their transfer ban), and tend to be rather one-dimensional.
An on-form Billiat has the potential to pull off the unexpected, to come up with a moment of magic. If ever Chiefs needed inspiration from the former CAPS United man, it’s in Morocco tomorrow evening. — Goal.com.