There is a very good reason why a lot of people think Godfrey ‘Vokal’ Bakasa is just a close friend of Khama Billiat’s and that the former Warriors star is managed by someone else.
Granted, every professional footballer has the right to choose his own handler and Billiat had the same entitlement when he opted for Bakasa after going seperate ways with Mike Ngobeni in August 2020.
Though qualified for the job, supposedly, Bakasa was new to managing sports stars when he became Billiat’s handler.
Vokal previously managed Zim Dancehall musician Tawanda Mumanyi, better known as Seh Calaz, and did a splendid job in the ‘Kwatinobva’ hit-maker’s rise to stardom.
He (Vokal) was nominated for the manager of the year acolade at the Zim Dancehall awards twice —in 2015 and 2016, before he parted ways with the Mbare-bred chanter under unclear circumstances.
Bakasa then managed rapper Desmond ‘Stunner’ Chideme from 2016 to 2018 and whether or not he was flogging a dead horse during that period, is a debate that can go on until the cows come home.
So when he swapped studio time for off-the-pitch-matters by assuming the role of Billiat’s handler, Vokal knew and even admitted, that the task at hand was never going to be a walk in the park.
“He (Billiat) needed some new blood and an innovative mind and I know I’m more related to music but then I have managed brands that are big; from managing upcoming artists to top artists,” Bakasa said on August 29, 2020.
“It’s really a challenge but I will take it to manage a brand like Khama Billiat and also to push and try to engage more locally with the cooperate world,” he added.
While it is very difficult and somewhat unfair to blame Vokal for Billiat’s alarming dip in form during his last three years at Kaizer Chiefs, the same can not be said of the diminutive winger’s dramatic exit from the club last year.
Billiat’s contract at Amakhosi ended on June 30 and negotiations for a new deal hit a brick wall. Chiefs then sensationally claimed days after, that the Aces Youth Academy graduate had ‘gone AWOL’.
“Following the expiry of attacking midfielder Khama Billiat’s Kaizer Chiefs contract on 30 June 2023, the Club tabled a new offer for the Zimbabwean marksman to remain with Amakhosi,” Chiefs said in a statement on July 8.
Many football fans felt Bakasa could have guided Billiat to a better exit from Chiefs, to avoid burning bridges with a club whose football manager Bobby Motaung had personally travelled to Harare to meet the player’s parents, when he moved from Mamelodi Sundowns in 2018.
The statement released by Chiefs even suggested that the club’s leadership, in their failed attempt to extend the nimble-footed winger’s contract, called him directly on his cell phone, bizzarely for a player who has an agent.
Accorded, Billiat had the right to leave Chiefs if he was not happy with the offer tabled by Amakhosi, but the manner in which he ‘ignored’ them, didn’t reflect a player acting on proper guidance from an agent.
Similarly, the fact that Billiat has failed to find a club six months after his statling Chiefs exit, is shocking for a player with the talent the diminutive forward has.
Of the major roles of a football agent— career management, transfer negotiation, contract negotiation, financial planning, sponsorship and marketing opportunities, public relations, disciplinary issues and welfare advice, how many boxes can Vokal tick in his tenure as Billiat’s agent?