KHAMA BILLIAT missed the Warriors’ first day of training yesterday for the 2014 World Cup football qualifier against Egypt on Sunday, as he attempts to conclude a move to cash-rich South African Premiership giants Mamelodi Sundowns.
Report by Henry Mhara
Warriors team manager Sharif Mussa confirmed Billiat was still in South Africa, but said it was due to problems with his travelling documents, but was expected in the country last night.
But sources close to the developments at Billiat’s team Ajax Cape Town, suggested the speedy winger could be following in the footsteps of his fellow Warriors teammate Cuthbert Malajila, who joined Sundowns late last month.
Malajila, who was at Maritzburg United last season, is understood to have signed a five-year deal worth over 5 million rands.
A highly-placed source yesterday confided to NewsDay Sport that the Ajax Cape Town player and Sundowns had already agreed terms.
“From the players’ side, it’s all sorted, they have agreed almost everything. Sundowns have tabled a five-year deal and Billiat and his representatives seem to be happy with it,” said the source. “Negotiations between the two clubs should start anytime this week,” added the source.
Ajax Cape Town CEO George Comitis yesterday told the South African media that they were willing to sell their most prized asset to Sundowns, but only if their asking price was met.
The Urban Warriors have reportedly slapped a 10 million rand price tag on the former Aces Youth Academy and Caps United player, who still has a year left on his contract.
“Billiat still has a year left on his contract and if Sundowns want him, then they must pay for him. Money talks, he is still our player, and so far we have not been formally approached by Sundowns,” said Comitis.
Billiat is part of the Warriors squad that will face Egypt at home in a World Cup qualifier this Sunday, but he had not reported for camp by yesterday afternoon.
The 22-year-old has been a long-time target of Sundowns, who are owned by billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe.
Sundowns wanted to sign the player in the last transfer window, but negotiations were put on hold after Billiat came out publicly to say he would only move after helping Ajax avoid relegation, which they successfully did.
If the deal sails through as expected, Billiat will join a long list of Zimbabweans at Chloorkop.
Besides Malajila, Sundowns have in their books long-serving Esrom Nyandoro, Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali and Lionel Mtizwa.
Mushekwi, Mwanjali and Mtizwa extended their stay at Sundowns this week after penning fresh one-year contracts, but are all expected to be shuffled to other teams to create space for new foreign signings.
Mtizwa, who was loaned out to Pretoria University last season, could still leave the club as part of deals to bring players from other clubs to Chloorkop.
Though the identity of clubs that the former Caps United player will head out to — possibly on loan — is still not clear, Sundowns are apparently keen to make use of him to “cream” the deals of bringing in new players.
Mushekwi continues to be linked with a move to Europe with media reports in South Africa suggesting that Malajila is being brought in as a direct replacement for the former Caps United forward.