NEW Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt has promised to get his star forward Khama Billiat firing again in the new South African Premiership season which got underway at the weekend after Zimbabwe international endured a dismal campaign last season.
By Sports Reporter
Billiat – a key figure in Mamelodi Sundowns’ Caf Champions League success of 2016 – managed to score only two goals last season in a forgettable season in which he battled injuries and poor form.
The 30-year-old Zimbabwean was at the receiving end of some sharp criticism as Kaizer Chiefs agonisingly missed out on the league championship on the final day to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Now Hunt, who joined the club from the now defunct Bidvest Wits, wants to help Billiat rediscover his scoring form in the DStv Premiership.
“I’ve got huge expectations. I know him from Zimbabwe to Ajax [Cape Town]‚” Hunt said in a pre-match press conference on Thursday for Chiefs’ start to the 2020-21 season in Sunday’s MTN8 quarterfinal against Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium.
“Yes‚ he’s older‚ but he should be a little bit more experience now‚ he’s a bit wiser.
“I think the most important thing I’ve got to do or we have got to do is start to get him playing to his strengths.
“Where we can get the best out of him. And that’s all I’m going to try and do.”
Hunt added: “Whatever he needs. Support‚ extra work. If he’s willing‚ and I think he is willing‚ I think he’s got huge potential still.
“I still see him as a young boy from when he came from Zimbabwe. He’s a little bit older now.
“But we’ve got to get him playing to his strengths‚ and that means the right areas of the field.
“I don’t want to know what’s gone on here before. It’s got nothing to do with me.
“I just want to see what’s in front of me and hopefully we can get him … he’s certainly a double figures goal-scorer in the league‚ and that’s got to be the first aim.
“If he does his part the rest can do our part‚ and then we’re successful.”
Billiat recently revealed he was relishing the chance to play under the tutelage of Hunt, who he believes will bring the best out of the players at Amakhosi and instil a winning mentality in them.
Billiat had a frosty relationship with former Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp whose tactics were blamed for the Zimbabwean’s poor run of form last season but the arrival of Hunt gives him a new lease of life.
“I’ve always wanted to work with him,” Billiat told his club’s official website. “He’s a great coach who knows how to win.
“We have seen with him, while coaching other clubs, that no player is ever guaranteed to play. He’s a coach who brings the best out of you.
“He makes players feel happy and that’s what we needed. You can feel it at training, there is a different energy.
“He made clear what he expected from me.”
Billiat has recently been linked with a move to either Mamelodi Sundowns and Egyptian giants Al Ahly, where he would be reunited with his former coach Pitso Mosimane.