Mamelodi Sundowns and Zimbabwe international winger Khama Billiat says he will not cry over completing the whole of 2014 without playing for the Warriors.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Billiat together with Knowledge Musona were the key players who never kicked a ball for the national side this year due to injuries and the country’s lack of international matches.
The duo last donned the Warriors jersey in September 2013 during a 2-1 international friendly match win over South Africa with Musona grabbing one of Zimbabwe’s goals.
That year, they participated in very limited number of international gassignments with Billiat playing four games while KV Oostende new boy Musona featured in just three matches.
This year, the two were not available for the doomed 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers due to injuries.
The Warriors forced themselves into a sabbatical in the wilderness following an early exit from the Afcon campaign in May, while other African countries extended their busy international schedule which ended last month.
This marked 2014 as the worst year for the Warriors who endured their poorest ever Afcon campaign under Ian Gorowa.
They were booted out at the first round by minnows Tanzania who were later on eliminated by Mozambique.
Billiat however remains optimistic on the future, saying he appreciates injuries as part of the game.
“It is part of the game,” said Billiat.
“I cannot wear the national team jersey when I am injured. I just accepted it. I always try to think positively. That motivates me to work extra hard.
“We should try and get back on our feet especially now that there is a new team comprised of Under-23s. Those are the players who are hungrier to play. We could have interesting times ahead.”
Billiat had a metatarsal fracture that saw him miss the opening games of the current South African Premier Soccer League season after also missing the tail of last term.
The injury kept him out of competitive action for six months but his return has been remarkable after scoring four goals in nine games.
“My year was marked by ups and downs. It was not one of my best years but I am glad I managed to overcome. I think my mental strength helped me carry myself through. I was injured and had to train twice more than my teammates did. Now I am enjoying my football,” Billiat said.
Other internationals who never got the chance to play for the Warriors this year include Quincy Antipas, Costa Nhamoinesu, Silas Songani, Marvelous Nakamba and Poland-based Dzikamai Gwaze.
Antipas, Nakamba and Gwaze were ignored by Gorowa ahead of the Tanzania debacle while Nhamoinesu and Songani were injured.