Khama off to Russia

HARARE – Zimbabwe international and Ajax Cape Town forward Khama Billiat could soon secure a dream move into the big European leagues after he left last night for trials with Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow.

Billiat, one of the most sought players in the Absa Premiership, left his base in South Africa yesterday for Russia on a one week invitation for final assessment before the Lokomotiv technical team make up their final decision on the player.

The 22-year-old has been one of the biggest stars of the Zimbabwean contingent currently plying their trade in the rich Super Diski league for the last number of seasons.

The talented forward, who horned his skills at the famed Aces Youth Soccer Academy, has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks with Soweto giants Orlando Pirates battling it out with their Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns for the signature of the Urban Warriors’ starlet.

The two Super Diski clubs have already tabled their bids for Billiat’s signature for the upcoming season but the Urban Warriors have not considered them yet owing to the interest from the Russian club.

South African agent Mickey Paiva, who is facilitating the proposed move, revealed that Billiat will link up with the Lokomotiv squad upon their return from a pre-season camp in Slovenia.

“Khama is leaving today (yesterday) for a final assessment with Lokomotiv Moscow,” Paiva told South African football website KickOff yesterday.

“They have been very satisfied with the DVDs we have shown them and now it’s just to look at him close up.

“It will be a great move for the player because Lokomotiv are a club with massive history — this will be a great chance for him.”

Lokomotiv is home to some established European-based stars like Vedran Corluka, Felipe Caicedo, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Nigeria’s Victor Obinna but they have struggled with their game in recent years finishing a disappointing ninth last season.

The club, which plays its home games at the ?28 000-seater Lokomotiv Stadium, has won the Russian Premier League twice in 2002 when they ended Spartak Moscow’s domination and in 2004.

Paiva said they expect to get a final answer from the Russians at the end of the week.

“He will be there for four days and then we’ll see what they come up with. I will then sit with Ajax Cape Town and his agent Edzai Kasinauyo, who have been very co-operative in making this happen, to see what is best for Khama,” he said.

Billiat is under the management of former Warriors midfielder Kasinauyo, who himself also played for Ajax Cape Town.

Kasinauyo could not reveal much yesterday insisting to shed more light after the player has returned from Moscow.

Billiat produced an impressive display last year during his team’s 1-1 draw with English Premiership champions Manchester United when the Red Devils toured South Africa.

And he even received praise from retired Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and defender Rio Ferdinand.

The Mufakose-bred winger has also been one of the leading lights in the Zimbabwe national team together with Germany-based forward Knowledge Musona.

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