In September, on a hot Tuesday afternoon at the National Sports Stadium, Zimbabwean football was staring at what would have been it’s biggest embarrassment ever.
A lapse in concentration at the back between Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu gifted Somalia (the Warriors’ opponents on the day) a vital away goal which would have seen them progress to the World Cup 2022 qualfier group stages at the expense of Joey Antipas’ Warriors.
To be eliminated by Somalia, who had gone for ten years without winning a competitive game, would have been catastrophic and even though Knox Mutizwa had provided a glimmer of hope with a well-taken free kick, it seems all hope was lost because time was running out, as evidenced by some fans walking out; but Khama Billiat had other ideas.
An ambitious long ball from the back found the diminutive Kaizer Chiefs star, who twisted and turned, dazzled past an opponent and blasted the ball into the top corner with his weaker left foot, sparkling wild celebrations from players, remaining suppoters and even the technical team.
It took a moment of brilliance from Billiat to ensure passage to the next stage and more of that will be needed when the Warriors go into battlefield against Botswana and Zambia.
The Botswana game might on paper be an “easy” one, through the players don’t see it that way based on what they are saying, but the clash against Chipolopolo is one that the character of the players will be tested and Billiat’s magic might come in handy.
To add to the anticipation, Billiat’s ‘patner in crime’, Knowledge Musona, is back in the Warriors squad and the fact that the former admitted that the latter brings the best out of him makes Billiat’s case more exciting.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
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