Giovanni Solinas: “Barca Have 10 Players & Messi, Kaizer has Billiat'

Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs Italian gaffer Giovanni Solinas has dried his superlatives to properly describe Khama Billiat - and this time has equated the Zimbabwean international to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

The former Sundowns man’s arrival has coincided with that of Solinas and the Italian has now looked to build his team around Billiat as Chiefs seek to end a three-year drought for silverware.

Solinas told the South African media that the kind of impact that Billiat has on Chiefs is similar to that which Argentine captain Messi has on Spanish giants Barcelona.

“Barcelona have ten players and Messi. Kaizer Chiefs have ten players and Billiat. Khama is the best player in the PSL and he’s one of those rare players who makes the difference,” said Solinas.

The Italian revealed yesterday that he is impressed with how his side has turned the corner after picking nine points in their last three league matches. 
Khama Billiat 

But the expatriate coach has once again singled out Billiat who appears to have rediscovered the kind if blistering form that saw him sweep the Super Diski Best Player award two years ago.

Billiat, has so far scored three league goals and has helped to lead Chiefs into third position and a point shy of pacesetters Orlando Pirates who have 14.

The Warriors midfielder, is playing with so much conviction with a number of neutrals already tipping him to have another outstanding season should he maintain that form.

Billiat’s exploits have done enough to charm his coach who has made no secret of his affection for the star forward. With results now coming up for his team who are playing as a coordinated unit, the pressure is off coach and his players.

Solinas, however, told the club website that he still wants more from the former champions, who beat Amazulu 2-0 in a Premiership match over the weekend.

“We dominated the game and created a lot of chances. Everything is positive. However, we have to keep our feet on the ground and continue to work hard to improve even further.”

“We started with a handicap,” the Italian reflects, “because I didn’t really have a pre-season with the squad. Then there were a lot of games — play, play, play. The FIFA break helped us to fix some mistakes and to understand the philosophy that I want the team to play to,” said Solinas.

The Warriors technical crew will be closely monitoring Billiat’s exploits as much as they would for the players they are looking to call up for Zimbabwe’s blockbuster African Cup of Nations clashes against the Democratic Republic of Congo next month.

Billiat scored in the Warriors 1-1 draw against Congo in another Nations Cup assignment in Brazzaville early this month, with the 28-year-old shaking off an injury to feature in that encounter.

The Warriors poster boy also received plaudits from his former coach at Mamelodi Sundowns — Pitso Mosimane. Mosimane, speaking after Sundowns’ 1-0 win over Golden Arrows, commended Billiat for his maturity as a player.

“Khama came to us when he was 23 and the level he is right now you can see he has matured he is a very good player, we worked on him for five years,” Mosimane said.

Billiat has seen a bright start with Kaizer Chiefs this season, having already scored five goals in all competitions since joining the Soweto giants ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. - The Herald 

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