Opinion: Open letter to Wellington Mpandare

Dear Mr. Mpandare

On the 16th of May 2020, you were qouted by one of the country’s newspapers saying local media should “support” Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs star Khama Billiat in the wake of what you deemed as “unwarranted” criticism by the South African media.

A publication in the Rainbow Nation wrote that Billiat was headed for “his worst season” in the ABSA Premiership while a Chiefs legend questioned his mentality despite getting a fat cheque.

I applaud you for patriotic stance you took on the Billiat issue, in particular your view that attacks directed at him are as a result of malice- some people finding the bittler pill that a Zimbabwean is the highest paid player in the South African top division, hard to swallow.

That being said Mr Mpandare, there are a lot of things you casted a blind eye on, in as far as the relationship between Billiat and the Zimbabwean media is concerned.  I’m not sure whether it was deliberate or you simply weren’t aware but I will refresh your memory anyway.

Last year, at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, Billiat shockingly refused to grant interviews to Zimbabwean journalists preferring their South African counterparts, something which even reportedly happened in your presence.

A renowned Zimbabwean journalist (name withheld) even suggested to a colleague after that incident that one day Billiat would need the support of Zimbabwean journalists.

With respect Mr Mpandare, you as the former Warriors team manager, ought to be aware of the fact that the relationship between Billiat and Zimbabwean media is close to broken.

In any case, let’s leave that for another day and focus on the football now.

I’m not sure whether you agree or not, but it doesn’t need magnifying glasses to see that Billiat has not replicated the form he produced at Mamelodi Sundowns, which made him a household name in South African, after his move to Kaizer Chiefs.

Attempts to justify or sanitize that fact using the injuries theory are understandable and patriotic but lack reality.

Statistics, just like a woman’s bikini, may not reveal everything but his numbers at Amakhosi are not inspiring, though I’m not saying his criticism in the South African media is deserved.

Lastly Mr Mpandare, as a Zimbabwean journalist, I might have many flows but ingratitude is not one of them. Billiat has on countless occasions single-handedly delivered for our beloved Warriors and his records in the gold and green strip are well-documented.

We will support him, not because we are taking advice from you or that he relates well with us, but simply because two wrongs don’t make a right;  we choose to forget what happened in Egypt and focus on the good side of him.


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