“I’ve always wanted to work with him,” says Khama Billiat about Kaizer Chiefs’ pre-season with new coach Gavin Hunt. “He’s a great coach who knows how to win.”
The first team squad has been back at training after having had a break for about two weeks. The Zimbabwean admits time that pre-season is not his “favourite pastime”, as it includes loads of running. However, it needs to be done to be “ready for the new season”.
He’s excited about Hunt’s approach. “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.”
Billiat feels confident that Hunt will help him get back “to my best”.
The Zimbabwean has already been taken aside by the coach at training. “He made clear what he expected from me,” Billiat reflects.
“We have worked pretty hard and we are getting into the groove,” adds Daniel Cardoso. “We have done a lot of running, even though most was done with the ball.
“The coach likes to joke, but he also makes it very clear what he wants from all of us. He comes in with his own philosophy and it’s crucial that we, as players, buy into that. We need to hit the ground running.”
Cardoso admits that losing out on the league title was a “bitter pill to swallow”.
“However, that’s now all water under the bridge,” the defender continues. We need to look forward – we have a new coach, who is very ambitious, and he has set new goals and targets. We will definitely be knocking on the door with Hunt in charge.”
Billiat nods. “We had a good season as a team. We came so close to winning the league. It means that we have the soldiers and the capacity to succeed. We have to challenge ourselves to do just a bit more.”
Billiat has a message to the supporters: “Please stay safe, while we are still fighting this virus called Covid-19. Don’t go to places that are too dangerous to go to and stay home as much as possible.”
The Covid-19 epidemic, which is still with us, is the reason the players immediately go home after training.
“We are professionals,” the Zimbabwean explains. “We do the right thing. We stay home, rest and spend time with the family.”
Billiat is ready for the 2020/2021 season. “A new coach will bring in different things, which is good. Challenges always bring the best out of us, players. We all want to do better than last season.”