Warriors clash in Billiat’s first Soweto derby

By Wellington Toni

THE biggest football derby in Africa, and probably the most watched, looms large between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Kick off is at 1400hrs.
For Zimbabwe international forward Khama Billiat (pictured), this will be his first test of what it means to play on front of an estimated 90 000 fans.
Having moved from Zimbabwe some years ago, he landed at Ajax Cape Town before making the big switch to Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns where he won all available accolades from the league title to the Caf Champions League and the Caf Super Cup.
In addition to the continental trophies, several man of the match, player of the season and player of the month accolades made his trophy cabinet full during his time at Chloorkop.
Billiat then let his contract run down at the Brazilians last season and sealed yet another big money move to Chiefs in Naturena, Johannesburg.
On Saturday afternoon he comes face to face with fellow Warrior, Pirates star midfielder Marshal Munetsi, who has fitted in well in the Bucs set up and like his name suggests, he is a midfield conductor who has patrolled his area with ease and aplomb.
Billiat could have been facing another Zimbabwe international teammate, Kuda Mahachi but the ex-Sundowns player has not been getting enough game time since his off-season switch from Golden Arrows and could miss the match.
To emphasise just how big the Soweto Derby is, the PSL took the unprecedented step of holding the pre-match conference at the league’s headquarters during the week.
Chiefs have not won since 2014 and there is certainly added pressure on Amakhosi and star player Billiat.
Can he deliver on the big stage?
Chiefs skipper Itumeleng Khune believes they are under pressure to win.
‘He (Billiat) is an excellent player, he has performed at the highest levels and in even hostile conditions. I think he can do it.
‘We have not won since 2014 and we have invested a lot in this game and we have to go out there and play well for the Amakhosi family and ourselves,’ he told the media in Johannesburg.
In Billiat’s team, there is ex-Warriors defender Willard Katsande and current centre back Teenage Hadebe, who will all be looking at putting up top shelf performances.
But there is no doubt for Amakhosi, the main man is Khama Billiat.
For Pirates, the word from the technical team to the players is simple: Don’t play the event, play the game!

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