A TALE OF TWO PATRIOTS: Khama refuses to let injury bowl him out

Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
KHAMA BILLIAT, who is struggling with a hamstring strain, has decided to take a gamble to try and serve his nation in its quest for a place at the 2019 AFCON finals. The Kaizer Chiefs forward flew into the country on Monday for an assessment by the Warriors medical team, who are in constant touch with his team and is desperate to play against Congo in Brazzaville on Sunday.

He was at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, but did not join the rest of his teammates in their drills and juggled the ball on his own while having a chat with the team doctor.

The Kaizer Chiefs forward was dressed in the team’s training kit, although he didn’t wear his football boots, but sneakers.
The influential forward has asked the Warriors management to delay a decision on his availability for the Congo game, until the very final minute, because he hopes he can shake off the injury and play on Sunday.

Billiat, who missed the match against Liberia after an injury knocked him out of the game, wants to play a part for his country on Sunday in a remarkable display of patriotism.

Warriors’ doctor, Solomon Mudariki, yesterday hinted the winger could play on Sunday.
“We are monitoring the situation with Khama Billiat. He had a knock at the weekend, but we are doing all we can to make him available for Sunday’s match,” said Mudariki.

Meanwhile, Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona has urged his teammates to have their eyes on the ball when they take on plucky Congo in Brazzaville in a 2019 AFCON qualifier on Sunday.

The Anderlecht forward, who made history when he became the first Warriors captain to score an AFCON hattrick in the 3-0 demolition of Liberia in June last year, trained with the rest of the squad at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

With two top teams in each group set to book their places at the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon, the Warriors know the importance of a good result in Brazzaville.

And Musona said they were not expecting an easy game.
“We are looking forward to the game on Sunday, I think it’s not going to be an easy game, but we are going there to try and take the maximum points,” said Musona.

“We are preparing hard so that we are ready on Sunday.
“When you play these games you have to try and take maximum points because our opponents will be prepared as well.
“They have zero points, after losing their first game (against DRC), so they will try by all means to win the game and it’s going to be a big challenge.”

The Warriors camp has been ravaged by injuries with coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa forced to make some changes to the squad.

Costa Nhamoinesu, Ovidy Karuru and Marvellous Nakamba have all been replaced.
“We just have to go there and fight as a team, work hard, try to find a goal or two if we are to come out with a full set of points,” said Musona.

“We need points in these games if we entertain hopes of qualifying for the AFCON.
“The good thing is that we all know what is expected of us, what each individual is supposed to do for the team to achieve set objectives.

“The good thing is that we started the campaign well and we should maintain the momentum. I think Congo Brazzaville are a tough opponent, especially given that they are yet to pick a point and they will also be playing at home.

“But we all know what we should be doing, we know we will be playing away and we don’t have to expect an easy game.
“It’s going to be difficult, but at the end of the day, we have to make sure that we prevail.”

Chidzambwa said the big win over Liberia was now water under the bridge and the nation should concentrate on their match against Congo in Brazzaville.

The coach said the next opponents would provide a different test and had the advantage they would be playing in their backyard.

The veteran mentor said he expects a very tough assignment.

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