Billiat doubtful for Warriors’ World Cup qualifier

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By Sports Reporter

KHAMA Billiat is a major doubt for the Zimbabwe Warriors’ FIFA 2022 World Cup preliminary round first leg qualifier against Somalia in Djibouti on Thursday after suffering an injury while in action for his South African club Kaizer Chiefs.

The Warriors were expected to begin camp on Monday in preparation for the game on Thursday in Djibouti while the second leg will be played in Harare on Sunday.

However, Billiat’s participation in the matches is now in doubt after Kaizer Chiefs announced on Monday morning that the skilful forward is set for a spell on the side-lines after he injured himself during the Soweto club’s 2-1 win over Cape Town City at Newlands last week.

“Billiat got a knock to his right pelvic bone during The Amakhosi’s 2-1 win in their away Absa Premiership encounter that took place last Tuesday against Cape Town City, he has had a scan done, and it is unclear how long he needs to recover at this stage,” Kaizer Chiefs said in a statement.

The match against City was Billiat’s second since the start of the season, and the only one in which he lasted the full 90 minutes.

The Zimbabwean international has featured sparingly for the club, since returning from national duty at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in June and July.

Billiat has also been the subject of a long-winded transfer saga, with strong links to his former club Mamelodi Sundowns.

The 29-year-old joined Chiefs on a free transfer from Sundowns at the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign.

In his first season, he finished with five league goals, making an appearance in all but four matches.

However, there has been uncertainty as to whether he will remain a Chiefs player when the transfer window closes on Monday at midnight, after Sundowns claimed to have been in talks with his current club in an effort to bring him back to Chloorkop.

Billiat’s imminent absence for the Warriors will come as a huge blow for newly appointed interim coach Joey Antipas.

The Chicken Inn coach recently announced a depleted squad which is already missing a number of regular players who were part of the squad at the AFCON finals in Egypt.

Belgium-based striker Knowledge Musona, England-based defender Tendayi Darikwa are unavailable due to injuries while Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba was given more time to settle at his new club.

Other experienced players who were omitted from the squad include Ovidy Karuru, George Chigova, Danny Phiri, Knox Mutizwa and Ronald Pfumbidzai.