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Kaizer Chiefs the benefactor as Khama Billiat unexpectedly calls time on international career

FILE - Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs during their DStv Premiership match against Marumo Gallants FC. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

FILE - Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs during their DStv Premiership match against Marumo Gallants FC. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Nov 16, 2021


Cape Town – Resurgent Kaizer Chiefs will be rubbing their hands with glee now that striker Khama Billiat has called time on his days as a player for Zimbabwe's national team, which he has captained over the last while.

Billiat's call, unexpected as it is, will come as a blow to Zimbabwe, who expected him to lead the national side, the Warriors, at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next January.

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Chiefs, on the other hand, will not have to take leave of their talisman during the window period for international matches. He will be fresh when the domestic season resumes.

The 31-year-old Billiat has 43 Zimbabwe caps and made his international debut in 2011 when he was an Ajax Cape Town player. In recent weeks he was named captain of the national team for World Cup qualifiers, and the campaign ended in disaster after the Warriors failed to win any of their six matches. Their shows four defeats and two draws.

One of the first players to respond to Billiat's passionate social media note was Zimbabwean teammate Tendayi Darikwa, of British outfit Wigan Athletic. Darikwa's tribute read: 'One of the best I’ve shared a football pitch with. Well done on achieving a dream, my brother'.

Billiat's post reads:

'Fellow Zimbabweans, it was all a dream. When I was young, I always dreamt of representing the country, playing for the national team. The dream which seemed far-fetched for a young Khama in Mufakose came when I least expected it. The first day I donned the Warriors badge, I vowed to enjoy myself and always lift the country’s spirits.

'Scoring a goal at the Africa Cup of Nations finals is one moment I still relive in my mind even up to date. It is one of the many special moments I have experienced wearing the coveted yellow jersey. The feeling of scoring in a packed stadium for your nation is inexplicable.

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'I have met so many teammates, coaches at the national team and I appreciate every relationship I have built along the way. By playing for the Warriors, I have improved immensely as a player it is an opportunity I will forever cherish.

'However, every story no matter how beautiful has an ending. This is probably the heaviest decision I have ever had to take in my life, but it is a decision I make with a patriotic heart. Like those who had to pave way for our generation of Warriors stars to emerge, I have decided to retire from international football.

'I believe it is now time for me to pave way for new talent to blossom and serve the country in the same way that I did, or even better.

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“I will forever be indebted to those who took a chance on me and moulded me into the international player I grew to become. Thank you, Zimbabwe, for supporting me and my teammates, for showing love with each outing. God bless you.'


IOL Sport

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