ZIMBABWE senior national football team attacker, Khama Billiat has issued an apology to the Warriors fans after the team’s poor showing at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, where they were eliminated in the initial stage on Monday.
By KEVIN MAPASURE IN LIBREVILLE, GABON
Billiat said the team had failed to meet its fans’ expectations, which had been raised by an impressive 2-2 draw against Algeria in the team’s opening match.
The Warriors then collapsed in their other matches, losing 2-0 to Senegal and 4-2 against Tunisia, to ensure they catch an early flight back home.
The Sundowns attacker was one of the bright spots in the team, but he was guilty of missing good chances in the first two matches.
In the Algeria match, Billiat could have bagged at least a brace had it not been for a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing on his part.
He also missed Zimbabwe’s best chance in the game against Senegal, skying his effort late on.
He, however, displayed amazing skill in the matches, which made him quite popular among the fans and the journalists at the tournament.
Billiat said he felt he could have done better for the team.
“My goal was to go all the way and help my country play in the Afcon final, but it ends here. I feel I could have done a lot better. I still have a lot to learn. I still have to grow as a player,” he told reporters after the Tunisia match in Libreville on Monday.
“There were a lot of things that we as a team could have done better. The free kicks could have been better, the corners and other small details.”
Billiat admitted that the first match had raised hope among the fans, but the Warriors failed to kick on and they were a big disappointment.
“I would like to thank the fans, they were awesome, they supported and believed in us. Without them, we would not have qualified and at this tournament,
they were sending us messages, we saw in the media how much they believed in us. Unfortunately, we disappointed them and we want to say we are sorry about that.”
Billiat said he had learnt a lot from some of the superstars from Europe that he played against.
“It was a good experience coming up against those guys. When you play them you can see why they are playing in Europe. It was a learning experience and I picked up some lessons.
“Playing against Europe-based players was a good experience for me personally. We played individuals that we can learn something from.”