WARRIORS star forward Khama Billiat was on target in his debut Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates before a packed FNB Stadium but his early strike was not good enough to help end Amakhosi’s long-dragging win-less run against the Buccaneers.
Instead it was Pirates who rallied back to win the encounter 2-1 before a sold out crowd at the venue of the 2010 World Cup final.
Billiat along with fellow forward Leonardo Castro had been doubtful starters ahead of the biggest fixture in the South African Premiership but the Warriors poster boy and his former Mamelodi Sundowns teammate were thrown straight into the starting side after being declared fit.
And it didn’t take long before the Warriors man made an impact when he tapped home after 15 minutes.
The Zimbabwe international opened the scoring, capitalising from a school-boy blunder by Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane who fumbled a cross, allowing Billiat to tap home.
However, the Bucs were soon to score twice with Innocent Maela and Vincent Pule masterminding the comeback.
Despite Chiefs going down in the first half, Billiat was a constant threat in the Pirates defensive half as he sparkled on his Soweto Derby. The 28- year-old couldn’t add to his tally though as the Glamour Boys failed to break a four-year-old Soweto Derby jinx against Pirates. Billiat was then substituted 13 minutes before time and he still received some plaudits from his coach Giovanni Solinas, who described him an important component of the team.
“I am sorry to the supporters. I am sorry to the team following this loss to our rivals. We wanted to win the match and we really needed the three points as well as the bragging rights.
“We were in the game and we created some scoring chances which we could not make full use of. We picked up some positives but it’s always very painful to lose this derby. We are really sorry to the fans.
“We know what the Soweto Derby means to every Kaizer Chiefs fan. It’s unfortunate, we failed to deliver. We are sorry.
“Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro had to be immediately drafted into the first eleven after confirmed fit as they are two key players for Kaizer Chiefs.
“Both players did well with Khama scoring the goal which was supposed to give us a shift. He is one man who can decide a match. He did well on his Soweto Derby debut and he is one of the best in the ABSA Premiership,” Solinas said. Billiat and Willard Katsande started for Chiefs with Teenage Hadebe not in the team while compatriot Marshal Munetsi also started for Orlando Pirates.