Khama Billiat off to Russia

ZIMBABWE international football midfielder Khama Billiat was yesterday reported to have left for trials with Russian top club Lokomotiv Moskva.

ZIMBABWE international football midfielder Khama Billiat was yesterday reported to have left for trials with Russian top club Lokomotiv Moskva.

Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika

According to reports from South Africa, the Warriors forward has been given a five-day trial stint with the Russia-based club who have already watched DVDs of the player in action.

Mickey Paiva — a South African agent brokering the deal — was quoted by Kick Off confirming the Zimbabwean international was expected to fly out of the country yesterday to link up with Lokomotiv at their pre-season camp in Slovenia.

“Khama is leaving today (yesterday) for a final assessment by Lokomotiv Moscow. They have been very satisfied with the DVDs we have shown them and now it’s just to look at him close up.

“It will be a great move for the player because Lokomotiv are a club with massive history – this will be a great chance for him,” he said.

Billiat (22) has been the subject of much speculation in recent months, with South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates reported to be courting the Zimbabwean star.

But the player has previously revealed his desire to play abroad and it appears he has now been presented with that chance.

Lokomotiv are a fairly big club in Russia having reached the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final twice (in 1997-1998 and 1998-1999). The club also played in the 2nd group stage of the Champions League in 2002-2003 season and lost by the away goal in the Champions League last 16 tie against AS Monaco FC in 2004.

They have also won the Russian Premier League two times and the Russian Cup a record of five times.

However, in the 2012-2013, season they finished a distant ninth position on the league table with giants CSKA Moskva lifting the championship.

Sundowns, however, are reported to be still keen to swoop on the talented winger and are believed to have already made a bid for him after also announcing the capture of another Zimbabwean forward Cuthbert Malajila from Maritzburg United last week.

Ajax Cape Town have, however, reportedly put a staggering R10 million price tag on their star midfielder.

Billiat, a product of the Aces Youth Academy which also churned out fellow Warriors teammates Knowledge Musona, Lincoln Zvasiya and Abbas Amidu, joined the Cape Town side from Caps United in 2010 and helped his side finish as league runners-up to eventual champions Orlando Pirates.

The Ajax Cape Town forward is a key member of Warriors coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels’ squad, but missed the trip to Guinea for the 2014 World Cup qualifier last month due to injury, as he left for South Africa for further treatment before the team’s departure.

It could, however, not be established yesterday whether he has now fully recovered from the injury. Ajax Cape Town finished 14th on the league table with 31 points in the South African Premiership last season after spending the better part of the season fighting against relegation.

Billiat remained a key player for the Urban Warriors as they thrashed Golden Arrows 3-0 to secure survival on the final day of the league programme.