Tuesday, 15 August 2017

BILLIAT SET TO QUIT SUNDOWNS

WARRIORS star forward Khama Billiat could finally move away from reigning South African and African champions Mamelodi Sundowns amid indications that the Brazilians’ coach Pitso Mosimane has given the biggest hint that the club is bracing for life without him.

According to reports from South Africa yesterday, Billiat — who had been sidelined by a long-term injury that stretched almost four months — could now be on his way out of cash-rich Sundowns.

The reports indicated that talks over a new deal between Billiat’s handlers and Sundowns had stalled. Billiat started for Sundowns for the first time since that long lay off when he featured for them in the MTN8 quarter-final tie against Maritzburg United at Luca Moripe stadium.

He was however, outshone in that MTN encounter by fellow Warriors international Evans Rusike who grabbed the winner in Martizburg’s 1-0 shock triumph over Sundowns. Billiat lasted 80 minutes in that encounter before being substituted. The forward who turns 27 on Saturday, was however, back in the limelight yesterday this time after revelations by his coach Mosimane that he wants out and would want to explore his career elsewhere.

Billiat has been at Sundowns since 2013 when he joined the club from Ajax Cape Town. According to a report in Sunday World, negotiations between Sundowns and Billiat’s representatives have stopped after the two parties failed to agree on terms for a new deal. The two main issues are the player’s salary and a $2.5 million buyout clause that has often come into the way of any possible move to Europe or North Africa.

With the talks having stalled, Sundowns could be forced to cash in on Billiat now or risk losing him for free with his contract now set to enter its final season. Mosimane admitted at the weekend that they needed to prepare themselves in case Billiat did leave.

“We would like to get one up front, one more striker and prepare ourselves, maybe Khama leaves, by the way,” Mosimane was quoted as saying.

It is the revelations by Mosimane that Billiat wants to leave and the apparent resignation by the former Bafana Bafana mentor to losing one of his star players that has fuelled speculation that the Zimbabwean international could finally try for his cherished break into the European leagues. Mosimane said Billiat is refusing to sign a new deal and wants to leave the club.

“If he renews, we love him, he is a good player, but he wants to leave and he doesn’t want to renew,” Mosimane said after Sundowns’ surprising defeat to Maritzburg United.
“What else can we do? It is his life. “We lost Katlego Mphela, we continued and won cups. We’ve lost Elias Pelembe and we won cups.

“We lost Lebogang Mokoena, we won cups. We lost Ramahlwe Mphahlele and we won the Champions League. We lost Bongani Zungu and we won the league. We will lose players, but we will go on.

“But we would love him to stay, we want him to stay and I think he will stay. Sundowns are strong. I will be gone and someone else will win the league. So, life goes on.” herald

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