Zifa, Sundowns need not fight over Billiat

HARARE - Since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has produced a lot of star players who have gone on to do wonders for the national team.

The likes of Shacky Tauro, Vitalis Takawaira, Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo, Benjamin Nkonjera, Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa, Benjani Mwaruwari together with the Ndlovu brothers Peter, Adam and Madinda were all wonderful servants for the Warriors. 

The list is endless as there are many other footballers who fit in this same category.

Even during his best years as a player, the Warriors game plan was not solely centred on Peter Ndlovu but rather on team effort.

There is no doubt, Peter was a great player but around him, there were equally talented players who made the Warriors a force to reckon with on the continent.

However, what transpired during this week threatened to break the team spirit in the current Warriors squad preparing to take on Liberia in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier tomorrow at the National Sports Stadium.

The saga involving Mamelodi Sundowns forward Khama Billiat and the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) dominated headlines for the better part of the week.

Sundowns were insisting that Billiat is injured and could not take part in tomorrow’s match while Zifa wanted the player to report for camp.

Fifa statutes dictate that during international windows clubs are obliged to release players to their respective national teams.

In the event that a player is injured, the national team’s medical staff have the right to assess the injury to determine its gravity.

Instead of finding an amicable solution on the extent of Billiat’s injury; Zifa and Sundowns engaged in a diplomatic row.

Zifa accused Ndlovu, who is the Sundowns’ team manager, of blocking Billiat from travelling to Zimbabwe while the Brazilians reacted angrily to the accusations.

Billiat saga took centre stage at a time the Warriors preparations for the Lone Stars match were supposed to get all the necessary attention.

In the end, an angry Ndlovu arrived in the country on Wednesday afternoon with Billiat in tow before proceeding for a medical, which confirmed that the forward was not in a state to play.

After the hullabaloo, Billiat will not be part of the team for tomorrow’s game.

Obviously, this did not go down well with those players in the squad that is preparing to face Liberia.

The Warriors game plan should not be centred on Billiat alone as there are many more capable players who can do duty for the country.

Comments (1)

Poor report, the long list of former soccer greats is irelevant to the storyline. Sundowns pays for Billiat's services and their manager (Peter Ndlovu) is obliged to make sure the welfare and life of Billiat coms first, ZIFA should be a bit more professional when calling players for national duty as it turned out in this saga ZIFA were left with egg on their face...Billiat was indeed unfit for purpose.

Sinyo - 12 June 2017

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