BY KEVIN MAPASURE
KAIZER Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt has backed Warriors striker Khama Billiat, who has received a share of criticism in the South African media.
Billiat’s season has been blighted by injury setbacks and is currently on the sidelines after a leg injury a few weeks ago.
He is expected to miss Kaizer Chiefs’ trip to Tanzania for their Confederation of Africa Football Champions League quarter-final second leg match against Simba SC.
Hunt this week lamented the absence of his main man ahead of the tie, where they carry a healthy 4-0 lead following the first leg last week.
He described Billiat’s absence as a “big blow” as they seek passage into the last four of Africa’s premier club competition.
“We’re running out of players again, another one (Dumisani Zuma) injured. Khama Billiat is a big blow to us as well, he hasn’t played [much] this season and he’s our main attacking threat — that’s a huge blow,” Hunt said.
Chiefs have lost Zuma, who was injured at the weekend, but Hunt’s main concern is that he will not be able to call on his most treasured arsenal, Billiat.
Last week, former South Africa and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Linda Buthelezi suggested that Billiat would not be offered a new deal beyond the current one as in his view, the former Sundowns star had been a flop.
Hunt still rates Billiat highly despite a loss of form at some point during the season before the injury setbacks.
Buthelezi launched an astonishing attack on the Warriors forward, saying he should be shipped out so that the club can look for talent elsewhere to replace him.
“Billiat must go. He is doing nothing for us. I am a Chiefs person, he must go. I don’t think Chiefs signed him because they wanted to invest in him in a sense of selling him overseas. If that was the case, we would have seen it by now. We can see from far that we invested in him so that he would score goals for us. That didn’t happen. So he must just go … the option they have on him means nothing. An option is not an agreement, it is a recommendation. It means nothing,” he said.
“I don’t think he will be signed for another season because he gave us nothing ever since he arrived. It’s not like he will be missed. What we need are good defenders and also someone who will score goals for us. It’s not like we don’t have such players in this country. If you go to Baroka, they play good football, they have talented boys there, even Black Leopards have good players there. You can sign a few of them here and they will be very serious once they get here.”
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