Khama issues Champions League rallying cry

Khama Billiat has called on his teammates to give Amakhosi fans a rousing finish to the DStv Premiership season and to compete strongly for a coveted spot in the CAF Champions League.

“It won’t be easy, but we have to fight hard, because this team deserves to play in the Champions League every year and to compete in Africa year in and year out. So we have to give our supporters that. We cannot go into next season knowing we are not playing in the Champions League,” a defiant Billiat said in a wide-ranging interview with www.kaizerchiefs.com.

Billiat has been the standout player for Amakhosi this season, contributing a number of important goals and assists, but during a difficult run of results, he is calling for mental strength from the team ahead of hosting Cape Town City at FNB Stadium this weekend.

“We just have to be very strong mentally and as a team stay united and make sure we work hard at whatever we are doing. It is just a matter of time, we must believe in everyone that is here and in the coaching staff and we are very close to getting good results for the club. We will keep on going, we will stay strong. The results haven’t been as we would have liked them to be, but that means we have work to do to look at ourselves individually to see how much we’re supporting one another to get great results for this club,” says Billiat.

Games have come thick and fast, coupled with technical team changes in the first team, but Billiat says the team “has to adjust very quickly”.

“It has been very difficult, but we know we don’t have time. We have to adjust very quickly. It helps the coach, it helps the system, it helps everyone if we adjust quickly, so we can maintain a good energy and work ethic. We believe if we want to be professional like we are we need to deal with these things in a proper way. The games are always going to come thick and fast. We need to take care of ourselves better. We need to sleep and eat right and know you can only do better when you do good things off the field, especially when the games are coming like this. So you have to make sure you rest very well, you drink a lot of water and that you’re in the right state of mind. Right now we don’t have time, we have to come back from the losses we’ve had and regain that confidence and energy again amongst the team,” says Billiat.

Rather than feeling the pressure that comes from the return of fans to the stadium, Billiat is encouraging his teammates to feed off the energy and support of the fans.

“Our supporters don’t scare us, our supporters support us to do better, so we must not be scared of playing in front of them. We missed them. It’s something we need to consider, if there is something we need to work on mentally to be around our supporters, knowing very well that they are coming to support us, coming to enjoy good moments and coming to see us grind out the results. They’ve very important to have back in the stadium. We really appreciate them coming back, they always give us that extra boost,” says Billiat.

Billiat is not entertaining the idea of losing four league games on the trot.

“We can’t lose four games in a row. We’re a big team, a big brand, with big numbers of supporters. We should know going into this game that it’s very important, it’s bigger than what we think it is. It’s important we finish very strong to get a spot in the Champions League,” says Billiat.

While his personal form has been good, the Zimbabwean international says he “will never be satisfied with my current performance”.

“I want to do better, I want to score more goals. I want to support my team better. I want to create as many as I can, and assist my team as much as I can. I can only look at all this after the season, we still have games to play that are very important. I want to keep my professionalism in a good shape, I want to stay in the right state of mind and not be distracted by numbers. I want to look at the season and say I’ve done this, but I can still do better because with the players we have around us we can make each other do very well,” says Billiat.

He concluded with a heartfelt message to the Amakhosi faithful.

“Thank you so much for coming to the stadiums. We really appreciate you guys. You give us that extra motivation, that extra boost. We are going into this weekend’s game knowing you are behind us no matter what has happened before. We love you, we want to have those great moments again together, that’s what we’re all about. The fans deserve to be happy,” says Billiat.