A Zimbabwe legend has questioned the decision taken by Khama Billiat, which was made public by the Kaizer Chiefs star on Monday night.
Speaking to the Siya crew, Innocent Chikoya said he was disappointed to have learnt of the player’s retirement from international football, especially just about a month or so before the team takes part in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
“I think Chiefs benefitted,” said the ex-Orlando Pirates and The Warriors left back.
“To be honest with you, he was supposed to just continue until after the Afcon, which is now in January. Those are the only games left because there’s no international football until then and it is such a big tournament.”
Zimbabwe have been drawn in Group B alongside Senegal, Malawi and Guinea in the continental showpiece, and Chikoya expected Billiat to captain the side.
“Everybody cherishes playing at the Afcon, but Khama decides to quit. Perhaps it’s the burden of playing for a big brand like Chiefs and then still having to travel to represent his national team. But there is no one in the local game from Zimbabwe who can give what Khama is giving the national team,” Chikoya reasoned.
“I was surprised to find out in our group chat with Zim legends. I don’t think this was a wise decision, in my opinion. There is Afcon – go! Enjoy yourself and then retire afterwards, give your best and then call it a day. You retire a hero.”
But Chikoya concedes that Amakhosi won’t look at it with such emotion, given the battering the body takes when you are a key asset for both your country and club.
“A lot of the times he’s been injured and missing a lot of games at Chiefs, people are noticing and complaining because the club is paying a lot of money, this and that. I think he wants to be on the safe side,” he explained.
“Maybe he’s trying to revive his career and trying to be the Khama that people know. His performance has not been what we are used to for a number of years, it’s only now that he is – being at his best and concentrating on club football. It could also be about securing his future with Chiefs, as we know he signed a two-year contract recently (in July). Maybe it’s his age, and he feels he’s given enough for the national team. I don’t know.”
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