JOHANNESBURG – Khama Billiat will once again snubbed a new contract at Mamelodi Sundowns as well as several offers abroad to join Kaizer Chiefs today (Friday).
Independent Media has been informed that the Zimbabwean talisman will finally put an end to speculation around his future having been deadlocked with the Brazilians over a much more improved offer – to make up for being on a lower base since his arrival from Ajax Cape Town in 2013. Chiefs have now swooped in and should announce the arrival of Billiat as their marquee signing ahead of returning back for pre-season on Monday.
As revealed by Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane over and over during the course of the previous season, the Brazilians, who finished the campaign as champions and were helped immensely by Billiat with eight goals from 16 games, made several attempts – going back and forth in negotiations – to hold on to their striker. But he would not agree to their terms – which went as high as a R2-million signing-on fee and a salary over R220 000.
For Chiefs to land such a big fish, it would have obviously come at a heavy price even with Billiat arriving at Naturena as a free agent. The 27-year-old won three Absa Premiership titles with Sundowns and was crowned Footballer of the Season two years ago when the Brazilians won both the domestic league and the CAF Champions League just a few months apart.
He will be Amakhosi’s first official signing ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, the club having kept mum over transfer dealings and only confirming the departure of goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo, defenders Tsepo Masilela and Sibusiso Khumalo, midfielders Keagan Buchanan, William Twala and Edmore Chirambadare. Khuzwayo has joined Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates.
Chiefs also do not have a coach as yet and are still hoping to replace Steve Komphela, who resigned in April after three years in which he did not win any major silverware. He took up a job at Bloemfontein Celtic earlier this week. Avram Grant, an ex Chelsea coach currently in charge of North East United in the Indian Premier League and Stuart Baxter, the Bafana Bafana coach, have recently been linked with the vacant post at Naturena. There has been no word from Chiefs about these reports, however.
Asked to give an update on Billiat’s future this morning, Mike Ngobeni, his agent, reiterated his stance from earlier in the week. “Just wait, there will be something today or later in the afternoon. We will put an end to this by revealing where he is going,” he said.
Billiat is said to have been aggrieved that Sundowns were not willing to adjust his contract in the past when he was Footballer of the Season, rather recruiting more players and paying them telephone numbers while he felt his salary needed to be improved. Chiefs have had no such problems in the past, especially when it comes to a player crossing the floor from Chloorkop.
Amakhosi signed then Sundowns captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele in 2016 as a free agent under similar circumstances. Defender Mphahlele was willing to commit at Sundowns, but they could not match his demands and Chiefs were only willing to do so.