Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has opened up on the return of Khama Billiat and what it could mean for the team’s final stretch of the season.
Chiefs welcomed back Billiat from a month-long injury lay-off at the weekend, when he came on as a half-time sub for Leonardo Castro to inspire his side to a 1-0 win over Royal Eagles in the Nedbank Cup round of 32.
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The Zimbabwean is undoubtedly one of the key figures for Amakhosi, who are arguably favourites in the Absa Premiership title race, while they also remain on course for the cup.
While still at his peak level of fitness, the 29-year-old begin forming a deadly combination with Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic, which quickly became known as ‘CBN’.
Middendorp has since discussed the potential impact of Billiat’s availability at the business end of the season and how he could still slot in alongside both Castro and Nurkovic up front.
“We are definitely very, very pleased to have Khama back into it, that was our intension with taking him out on December 22,” said Middendorp.
“Taking him out for a long time – [now we’re into] February and he can now, looking into it, [start playing again]. As you have seen, he’s quick and fast, he has a good touch and he’s sprinting 100 percent.
“But on the other side, with being out for such a long time, and following a certain model [of recover] – we don’t want to overstretch him.
“So, [on Saturday] he got 45 minutes and maybe in the near future he can move up to 60 minutes, and there were a combination of games against Sundowns, and, and, and where we played with all three [Billiat, Castro and Nurkovic], plus Manyama and Maluleka.
“So, this is not where we want to limit ourselves, but you can do this only when each and everybody is at their best. It’s definitely something [to look forward to] after his first competitive minutes after a long time, and I think so far from what I have seen he is okay.”