Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs star forward Khama
Billiat says that he and coach Ernst Middendorp have made up over the
quarrel they had regarding his international duty.
At the beginning of the season, Billiat was still carrying a knock
sustained at the Africa Cup of Nations, meaning he played very little
football for Chiefs.
The 29-year-old was initially not included in Zimbabwe's back-to-back
qualifiers against Somalia on September 5 and 10. However, Billiat was
called up after the Warriors lost the first leg 1-0, despite Middendorp
believing his star was well short of match fitness.
Middendorp said at the time: "You should talk to the player. I
actually have my own idea in this direction and, ja, the player made his
decision and that’s it.
"It’s not about being impressed [with his performance]. We were not
able as the club to use the player for full 90 minutes at all until now.
"Now, running into [such a game] – I understand – serving his country
and so on, that is why I’m saying ask the player, how is he capable
three days later to do something responsible?
"I have my own idea about it, I have my own way when I’m talking
about loading; what is the idea behind effective training loading and
"One idea behind [this] is to keep and to get the players totally
injury free, and secondly the idea is to try as much as possible to get
the player to a certain competitiveness that they can contribute to a
team performance. So, now the rest you can put [thought] into yourself."
As it turned out, Billiat came to the rescue for his country with a
90th-minute winner to claim a 3-1 victory in the second leg and a 3-2
aggregate win which ensured their progression to the second round of the
CAF 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
But Billiat, speaking to the club's official website on September 13
in the aftermath of the win over Somalia, seemed to have a dig at
Middendorp when he said that 'nothing comes close' to playing for his
“We knew it was going to be a tough one… This was a must win for us.
We started slow but I think we were anxious about the deficit. But at
the end I am happy, and the Zimbabweans are happy we won.
“It was a long time coming (the goal). After all, it was a team
effort and I am glad I contributed. Nothing comes close to representing
the nation, especially if you consider the situation we found ourselves
But now exactly a month later, Billiat says the pair have now put the matter behind them.
“We spoke about it and, yeah, as players we always want to play
football and we always want to represent [the national team] whenever
you’re called,” said Billiat.
“I think I couldn’t have done better, but I had to go since the club
allowed me to go, and everything was solved in a professional way, and
we’re all professional.
“It’s part of our career, things can be said and done, and we have to accept it and deal with it in the best way that we can.”