Billiat arrival excites Zimbabwe Premiership

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Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 game between Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on 27 August 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The arrival of Zimbabwe football star Khama Billiat’s capture by perennial strugglers Yadah Stars FC has brought a lot of excitement to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League which kicked off on Saturday.

League champions Ngezi Platinum Stars and Chibuku Cup winners Dynamos lifted the curtains for a potentially exciting football season with the latter emerging 2-0 victors in the season opening Castle Challenge Cup clash at Baobab Stadium.

But it’s the signing of Khama Billiat in a deal worth which dominated the final episodes of the preseason.

It all began on Valentine’s Day with the announcement that Billiat was set to join Harare giants Dynamos and what ensued was a bidding war for the player for the former Warriors talisman.

Clubs like Manica Diamonds, Ngezi Platinum, CAPS United and YADAH reportedly joined the race for the player.

And it was Yadah who snatched the player for a one-year deal worth close to US$70 000 including a reported US$20 000 sign-on fee and a US$5 000 monthly salary.

Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Farai Jere expressed his delight with the coming of Billiat to the local championship.

“We are expecting a lot of excitement given some developments which have been and are still happening including the coming in of Khama Billiat into the Premier Soccer League,”Jere said, speaking at the unveiling of the renewed Delta Beverages sponsorship deal for the local league and the Chibuku Cup on Thursday.

“That alone is to increase the value of our league, having players of such stature, those players who have played at the highest level. I remember he was once voted the second-best player in the continent when he helped South Africa giants Mamelodi Sundowns to the CAF Champions League glory in 2016.

“And his choosing to come to play in Zimbabwe is an endorsement of our league. That will also force other teams to raise their performance bars.”

“The league is no longer the same after the arrival of Billiat; he is one of the best players in Africa, and his arrival has given our critics something to think about.

“It shows we are going somewhere because Billiat is a top player, and I’m confident that more top players are on their way to our league.

“It’s undeniable that most football followers across Africa are going to be keeping an eye on our league this season,” he said.

The 33-year-old was a free agent after refusing to renew his contract with Kaizer Chiefs at the end of June last year.

Talks over a new deal collapsed after the South Africa league giants reportedly offered him a new contract at half of what he was earning.

Yadah open their new premier league campaign with a tough trip away to Hwange next week, but Billiat is unlikely to debut at the match because he has been inactive for the last seven months.

 

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