Now that Mamelodi Sundowns have upped the ante on their pursuit to lure Khama Billiat away from Kaizer Chiefs and back to Chloorkop before the end of the month, it begs the question: how serious is the talisman’s latest injury?
Billiat has not featured for Amakhosi in their two opening Absa Premiership matches, with coach Ernst Middendorp explaining that the Zimbabwean is still recovering from a slight knock he sustained during the Africa Cup of Nations and made worse when Chiefs faced their Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates in the Carling Black Label Cup.
The player may very well be injured, but what is worth risking him for a pre-season friendly on the eve of the start of the campaign?
Speaking to the media at the weekend, Middendorp admitted he was well aware that Billiat was still in some discomfort, but because of the significance of the Carling Cup – and his profile – the coach suggested he had to play.
But in contrast, midfielder George Maluleka was immediately pulled out of the starting line-up when he got hurt a day or so before the Soweto Derby, but returned to action a week later in their league opener away to Highlands Park.
Chiefs had the authority to pull out any of their injured players as evidenced by the decision to replace Maluleka and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune several days earlier – so they were not forced to field Billiat either.
The logic behind risking a such an important player in a pre-season match can be questioned, especially considering that both Chiefs and Pirates were able to withdraw injured players in the lead up to the game at FNB Stadium.
So, the question is, how serious is Khama Billiat’s injury? Is there more to his recent absence? Chiefs have denied any talk of Billiat exiting, though they could be playing their cards close to their chest in what could be the biggest transfer in PSL history.
Watch this space…