Will Khama win hearts of Brazilians?

JOHANNESBURG - This week, Khama Billiat completed one of the most lucrative deals which will see him move from the Mother City to Pretoria where he will don the Mamelodi Sundowns jersey.

Although his transfer fee remains a guarded secret, talk doing rounds is that it is one of the most expensive moves in the history of the Absa Premiership.

Sundowns though have been quick to scoff at talk that they paid Ajax Cape Town a figure around R10m mark to land their prized possession.

However, the fact that Billiat’s protracted move went on and on, speaks volume of the big money that was exchanged by the two clubs.

And knowing the calibre of Patrice Motsepe, one of South Africa’s richest individuals, the man is not afraid to throw huge monies around.

The mining magnate has been very eager to reclaim the club’s past glory and has given coach Pitso Mosimane a blank cheque to literally buy success.

And the former Bafana Bafana mentor has wasted little time in making use of his boss’s bottomless pockets.

This season alone, Sundowns has splashed huge amounts into the transfer market which saw them net Zambian number one goal-minder, Kennedy Mweene, defender Dove Wome and adventurous Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila.

The much-anticipated Billiat move to the northern parts of Mzansi has been hailed by the Downs supporters as the biggest catch of them all.

Nicknamed Khamaldinho by the adoring fans, the tiny Zimbabwean is scheduled to stay at the Mamelodi enclave for the next five years and hopefully will culminate in the side dominating local soccer once again.

Since buying the majority shares in the club from the Tsichlas family of Nastacia and Angelo, Sundowns has struggled to maintain its dominant position. However, this season will really test Motsepe’s patience.

In the past, the multi-millionaire has brought to Mzansi some of the biggest names in the game to coach the club including former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov, to no avail.

This time he has resorted to home-grown talent and in Mosimane, he has placed his faith in an individual whom he has always respected from the days the mentor was a striker with the club.

What this means is that Pitso has been given one mandate by the owner – to bring success at all costs. If that doesn’t happen this season, there is only one way for the tough talking coach – out.

Soccer in this country controls one of the most critical and influential constituencies and many powerful people here use the game to achieve broader ambitions.

Motsepe knows the influence of the likes of Kaizer Motaung and Irvin Khoza and has never been comfortable in material riches only. His ultimate prize is dominating the game loved by millions.

What all these factors also bring to the fore, is the amount of pressure that comes with the big name signings joining a club of Downs’ stature.

One will have to perform above the rest and if necessary, literally carry the entire team on one’s shoulders.

Malajila has already shown an appetite to compete with the best as a justification for the fat cheque he cashes at the bank every month.

Being an outstanding star in a team is something Khama has grown used to. For the past few years, he has been one of the few excellent players at Ajax.

But this is a different ball game altogether. He is joining a Gauteng team whose supporters are very fickle. You are a hero today and a villain tomorrow.

Talk of being just as good as your last game.

*Tinotenda Panashe can be contacted by e-mail at Tinotenda.Panashe@gmail.com.

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