Mpandare: Referees should protect Billiat for the benefit of the league

Former Zimbabwe national teams General Manager Wellington Mpandare believes referees in the Premier Soccer League need to protect Khama Billiat since his thriving “benefits the league”.

The nimble-footed Mufakose-bred winger, who returned to the local Premiership and joined ambitious side Yadah, suffered a calf injury when the Miracle Boys lost to Simba Bhora last week and had to be replaced just before half time.

Mpandare, who reportedly played a key role in convincing Billiat to return home, insists the Simba players were actually instructed to hurt Billiat and referees must do more to protect the former Warriors star, as his thriving benefits the league.

“Khama (Billiat) is a brand, in the past years fans have not been attending games but since he joined Yadah, he has attracted a lot of fans back to the stadiums as witnesssed at Hwange (vs Hwange), Mutare (vs Bikita Min), Bulawayo (vs Bulawayo Chiefs) and Harare when Yadah played Dynamos and Simba,” Mpandare told Soccer24.

“Against Dynamos, more than five thousand fans were turned away because of gate entrance issues, Khama had more fans seated in the City end bay compared to Dynamos fans in the Vietnam end.

“It was Khama who attracted most of the fans including Dynamos fans because against Bulawayo Chiefs, Dynamos could not attract even half of the fans with gate entrance issues resolved.

Added Mpandare: “We should take a leaf from Saudi Arabia, who improved their league by atrracting top players. In our league, we dont see the benefit of having players like Khama back in our league case in point, Yadah versus Simba, Simba players were determined to make sure that Khama would not play football again and they almost achieved that, which is sad.

“The referee of the day didnt protect him. Khama was kicked on and off the ball until he got injured. One of the Simba players said he wanted to end Khama’s career. The players, coaches, referees do not understand the value Khama brings to our league.

“The benefits have a ripple effect in our football, good attendances mean referees are paid on time, players are paid on time, PSL, SRC and ZIFA get more and the clubs remain with some money.

“Even PSL and the sponsors dont see the value in Khama, they are not taking advantage of the Khama hype,” said Mpandare.

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