Warriors forward, Khama Billiat has said that they will be a hungry and angry lot when they walk into the Peter Mokaba Stadium to confront the Crocodiles of Lesotho in a Cosafa semi-final clash this evening.
BY HENRY MHARA IN POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA
Following a frustrating quarterfinal, where Zimbabwe created numerous scoring chances they failed to convert, they will be seeking a ruthless approach this time, as they aim to accomplish their business inside 90 minutes to avoid the nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out.
Goalkeeper, George Chigova saved three penalties in the shoot-out as the Warriors sneaked through on a 3-1 win over Botswana.
Billiat, the superstar of the team, does not want to endure the same stress, and has urged his teammates to be more clinical in front of goal.
“We created enough chances, but we couldn’t win and it’s something that we need to improve on. We are in the semi-finals and its getting more difficult for us, so we need to take chances that come our way. It will be a tough match, but the guys are ready,” he said.
Coach, Sunday Chidzambga has expressed concern over the way the team missed the chances, but Billiat sees the positive side.
“It’s a good thing that we created those chances because, in a game of football, you get more worried when you are not creating the chances. You can only score when you have the chances so we have something to work on. We just need to improve on our finishing, which is a positive for us, and we can look at it that way.”
Zimbabwe and Lesotho met at the same stage of the competition last year, with the Warriors winning 4-3, having led 3-0 at halftime.
Lesotho beat Zimbabwe in a friendly match this year, and Billiat reckons they could be a potential banana skin.
“It’s a big challenge; they didn’t qualify for the semi-finals by luck. They deserve to be here because they worked hard. They are a strong side, we respect them. We will have to take care of our won game, and stick to our game plan. We will have to work hard for each other like we did against Botswana.”
Billiat is the poster boy for the team, and star attraction at this tournament, but he has remained humble.
“I’m not the star of this team. We are a team of players who are in the squad on merit. We are here because the coaches saw something in us. No one is special, more important in the squad, this is not tennis, but a game of football, where every member needs to play his part for the good of the whole team. If the other guys do not play their part, you won’t get the best out of me. Individually I can’t promise anything, but as a team I can promise that we will work hard and do our best to try and make the nation proud.
“As a team, we feel positive and focussed. We have players in the squad who won last year so we have experience, and us the new players are here to help, as much as we can. We know what we want, and the spirit in camp is good.
The 27-year-old is expected to leave his South African club, Mamelodi Sundowns at the end of June, with reports suggesting he is going to Europe.
He skirted questions on his future, insisting that he is focussed on the job at hand, where he wants to win the Cosafa Cup, to add to his glittering medal cabinet.
Billiat is also desperate to shine in the tournament, to enhance his profile, which could improve his chances of getting a better team.
“I try to put all my effort in every match I play because you never know who is watching. In football, you can get a very good contract out of a friendly match, so I put everything in every game I play because it might determine the future.”
With Karuru absent, that could be the only change that Chidzambga will make to the team that played Botswana.
Herentals midfielder, Richard Hachiro did well when he came in to replace him, and should start ahead of Tanzania-based Tafadzwa Kutinyu, who joined the squad on Monday.