Brilliant Billiat shows his class

Billiat showed flashes of brilliance although he could not propel the Miracle Boys to collect maximum points, settling for an inspiring one-all draw with the Lithium Boys.

YADAH coach Thomas Ruzive is pleased with the promising signs he saw from the club’s marquee signing Khama Billiat in their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match Bikita Minerals on Sunday.

Ruzive described the forward’s performance as “encouraging.”

Billiat showed flashes of brilliance although he could not propel the Miracle Boys to collect maximum points, settling for an inspiring one-all draw with the Lithium Boys.

After a 15 minute cameo role as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat away to Hwange last week, Ruzive opted to give the former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns star a start in this rearranged fixture at Sakubva Stadium against the league debutants.

It was not one of Billiat's finest displays, but the former Warriors man still caught the eye, setting up a number of openings especially in the first half when he made a darting run into the box, but his drawback found no takers.

Billiat was a constant threat to the Bikita backline, operating in a more central role and he almost grabbed the winner in injury time but saw his angled shot going just over the bar.

Speaking to NewsDay Sport after the match, Ruzive said he was impressed with the way his biggest acquisition combined with his new teammates as he had two shots on target.

“Khama has not played football for a long time but I think you can see his quality. His performance was encouraging. He will get better and better," Ruzive said.

“He has got a footballing brain above everybody pretty much, because of how long he has played at the highest level. His attitude is fantastic, he wants to help the team and work with the team.

“He is adapting well to our play and the league. He is giving us a dimension which we did not have before. That is what we want and like I said, he will continue to improve. We know what Khama can do and he is already showing the glimpses of a player that he is."

Veteran striker Evans Katema gave Bikita Minerals their first ever goal in the topflight midway through the second half, an effort which was cancelled out by substitute Ryan Ncube’s 90th minute equaliser.

“We played well considering Bikita Minerals have got a very experienced squad. They are a new team, but full of players who have seen it all. We did well especially in the second half  and managed to equalise,” Ruzive said.

The draw was Yadah's first point of the season in two matches after their loss in Hwange in their season opener.

“It’s too early to judge the season but I’m happy with how the season has started. I can’t really complain. We have picked a point away from home, which is good.”

Bikita Minerals coach Saul Chaminuka said the team's preparation for their maiden league appearance was disturbed by the off field drama which saw them having to win a protracted boardroom battle to play in the topflight league.

The team played the Sunday match in an unbranded training kit after their matchday kit arrived at the venue late.

To add to the confusion, their teamsheet had names and numbers mixed up.

But those mishaps didn't appear to faze the players, whose line up included veterans like Katema, Russell Madamombe, goalkeeper Francis Tizayi, Masimba Mambare, Carlton Munzambwa and Allan Gahadzikwa who had a blinder of a game in midfield.

“We didn't know what was going to happen so the preparations was not very ideal. It was not the kind of preparations that we needed going into such a competition. But I thought we did well in this match. We took the game to them and showed them one or two things. They earned their point today. I’m disappointed that we conceded a goal so late. But it's a game of football and we will have to take the point. We could have managed the game better, from a corner kick and we didn't defend well. But overall, this was a good performance. I give credit to the boys, and the people who came to watch, enjoyed the game,” Chaminuka said.

Bikita Minerals’ next match is away to Caps United at Rufaro Stadium on Thursday while Yadah takes on Dynamos at the same venue the following day.

Matchday 3 fixtures

Thursday: Caps United v Bikita Minerals (Rufaro), Arenel Movers v Herentals (Luveve), Fc Platinum v Chicken Inn (Mandava), Zpc Kariba v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Nyamhunga), GreenFuel v TelOne (GreenFuel Arena), Manica Diamonds v Chegutu Pirates (Sakubva).

Friday: Highlanders v Simba Bhora (Barbourfields), Yadah v Dynamos (Rufaro), Hwange v Bulawayo Chiefs (Colliery)

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