By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Warriors have been handed a timely boost ahead of Tuesday’s must win 2022 FIFA World Cup preliminary round second leg match against Somalia at the National Sports Stadium in Harare after star forward Khama Billiat declared himself fit for the crucial tie.
Billiat missed Zimbabwe’s shock 1-0 defeat in the first leg in Djibouti last week after suffering a knock on his right pelvic bone during his club, Kaizer Chiefs’ 2-1 away victory at Cape Town City two weeks ago.
His absence was strongly felt as Zimbabwe crashed to an embarrassing defeat to the lowest ranked national football team in Africa.
However, in what should be a massive boost for the under pressure Warriors, the Kaizer Chiefs star made the shock announcement through social media that he was linking up with the national team.
“National duty calls. In God We Trust,” Billiat announced on Twitter, accompanying the post with a picture of himself in national team colours.
ZIFA also confirmed that Billiat had been called up to strengthen the Warriors side for Tuesday’s important match.
“Khama Billiat is on his way to join the team ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Somalia on 10 September. He’s the only player who has scored in the Warriors’ last five competitive matches. Somalia carry a 1-0 lead from the first leg,” ZIFA said in a statement.
Warriors coach Joey Antipas, who blamed the first leg defeat on chaotic preparations and lack of planning by ZIFA, had already called up Ovidy Karuru who plays for AmaZulu in the ABSA Premier League in South Africa and ZPC Kariba defender Ian Nekati to beef up his team for the upcoming match.
However, the European-based duo of midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and in-form striker Tinotenda Kadewere are still conspicuous by their absence in the squad.
Nakamba was left out after English Premiership side Aston Villa requested for him to be given time to find his feet at his new club following his recent move while ZIFA was late in notifying Kadewere’s French side of its need for his services.
The Warriors need to beat Somalia by two clear goals to progress to the group stages of the qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar.