FORMER Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs defender Rabson Mchichwa has picked Khama Billiat ahead of former Zimbabwe captains Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari as well as current skipper Knowledge Musona as the best Zimbabwean to have played in the South African topflight.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The former Dynamos defender, who played for Amakhosi from 1995 to 1999 in his prime time after joining from QwaQwa Stars, surprisingly left Belgium-based Musona in his top five players, but included Ndlovu.
“Billiat is currently flying the Zimbabwean flag high. He continues to inspire the next generation of Zimbabwean footballers,” Mchichwa said.
Billiat joined Ajax Cape Town in 2010 where he lasted until 2013. He made 83 appearances for the club, scoring 21 goals before moving to Mamelodi Sundowns where he played 99 matches. He recorded most of his success at the Brazilians where he won three league titles and a Caf Champions League. In 2016, he was named Player of the Season after helping Sundowns to success.
Mchichwa excluded Musona from his list with the Warriors skipper having had two spells at Chiefs with the first coming between 2009-2011 where he appeared in Amakhosi colours for 49 matches, scoring 19 times.
He returned on a loan spell from Germany and made 19 appearances with a return of eight goals.
Mchichwa rates himself second in his list.
“I chose myself as I did well at QwaQwa Stars, but my best football was at Amakhosi,” he said.
On the third spot, Mchichwa picked Ndlovu, who featured for giants Sundowns and Thanda Royal between 2004 and 2009 upon his return from an illustrious career in England.
Ndlovu joined Sundowns at the instigation of another Warriors legend Esrom Nyandoro and the two are still at the club as manager and chief scout respectively.
The former Coventry City and Sheffield United forward made 81 appearances for Sundowns, scoring 20 goals in the process.
“Ndlovu is one of the best players from Zimbabwe to play abroad, having played his football at the highest level,” Mchichwa acknowledged.
Also in his list are the Mugeyi twins, William and Wilfred.
William played for Umtata Bush Bucks from 1993 to 2005 after playing locally for Black Aces while his brother Wilfred also had a long career in South Africa stretching from 1993 to 2007 where he featured for Bush Bucks, Ajax Cape Town and Free State Stars.
Mchichwa said the Zimbabwean players’ invasion of the South African top league was heralded by one of the pioneers to play in that country, the Zimbabwe Saints legend Ebson “Sugar” Muguyo in the 1970s.
“Sugar was one of the first Zimbabwean players to play in South Africa and paved the way for Zimbabwean footballers to play in Mzansi,” Mchichwa said.
Dozens of Zimbabwean players who have played in the South African top league include Tinashe Nengomasha, Thomas Sweswe, Tauya Murehwa, Nyandoro, Alois Bunjira, Stewart Marisa, among many others.