Soccer

How Bobby Motaung got Khama Billiat

The Kaizer Chiefs football manager pulled out all the stops to catch the big fish

08 July 2018 - 00:00 By BARENG-BATHO KORTJAAS
New Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat was bowled over by Bobby Motaung's determination to get his signature.
New Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat was bowled over by Bobby Motaung's determination to get his signature.
Image: Gallo Images

Bobby Motaung has been the target of searing rage from the angry army of Amakhosi faithful.

With their fire fuelled by three barren seasons - the blame for which they've laid at the door of departed coach Steve Komphela - Kaizer Chiefs supporters reserve special disdain for the football manager who they shower with a deluge of unprintables for the shambolic silverware-less state of the past three seasons.

What sparks their fury is a plethora of poor signings they perceive not only as unworthy of donning the gold and black but as disgraceful.

The recruits from Motaung's favourite shopping ground north of the Limpopo river come under more scrutiny than the rest.

RIGHT ROYAL RIDICULE

Tinashe Nengomasha, Knowledge Musona and Willard Katsande have proved to be Zimbabwe warriors worth their salt.

Willard Katsande has proved to be a Zimbabwe warrior worth his salt.
Willard Katsande has proved to be a Zimbabwe warrior worth his salt.
Image: Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan

But plenty of Motaung's signings caught from the Zim pond have been sardines - Michelle Katsvairo, Ovidy Karuru, Lincoln Zvasiya, Edmore Chirambadare and Abbas Amidu spring to mind - and have earned him right royal ridicule.

Bobby on the beat has suddenly bounced back in favour with the fans by staging the biggest coup of the transfer window, catching the coveted signature of Khama Billiat.

After Chiefs failed to capture Andile Jali, who opted for Billiat's former club Mamelodi Sundowns, Motaung was prepared to break the bank to set in motion the wheels to get Billiat to become a marquee Khosi.

The midfielder's family were impressed Motaung travelled all the way to Zimbabwe to break bread with them, says Michael Ngobeni from M-Sport Management.

WOOING THE FAMILY

"This was an emotional move in such a way that it involved the whole Billiat family. Bobby went to Zim last month and spoke to Khama's father and mother ," says Ngobeni.

"His cousins as well as Khama's wife and everyone were in one room. The parents wanted to know the future of the player because Khama was the talk of the town.

"His parents didn't believe that they had Bobby in their home. He explained about the club and all the players who played for them. The parents were happy. The boss, Khama, then said we're going to Chiefs.

"Bobby handled it well. That's what made the deal easy. He showed him love and all he needed was love.

"The parents were excited to see that Chiefs were serious about obtaining his services," relates Ngobeni.

BREAKING THE BANK

The Sunday Times has it on good authority that Billiat's three-year deal with an optional one-year extension is worth about R10-million a year.

"I refuse to talk figures. That is confidential information between the player and the club. The boy is happy, people are going to see the real Khama Billiat.

"Sundowns did what they had to do for his career. There was no Khama without Sundowns. Pitso [Sundowns coach Mosimane] contributed a lot to his growth.

"He had been at Sundowns body and soul. But he felt he gave his all at Sundowns where he has won everything. He felt there is nothing more to fight for.

"He wanted to go somewhere to test himself and see if he can help Chiefs to win back its former glory.

"He just wanted to wear another jersey. It is not a payback. If it was about the money he could have gone elsewhere.

"There was interest from China, Turkey, Zamalek. There were also two offers from Qatar and the UAE. But Bobby's manoeuvre convinced him to join Chiefs. Bobby jumped. Honestly, people don't understand Bobby.

"They think he is arrogant but he is down to earth."

SuperSport United were also chasing the signature of the 2016 Player of the Season, Player's Player of the Season and midfielder of the season.

The mission to bring Billiat to Naturena Village also saw Chiefs midfield strongman Katsande play a part.

He worked the forward when the duo were in camp with the Zim Warriors for the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup tournament staged in Polokwane last month.

"Players talk and they are countrymen. He was asking Katsande how things were at Chiefs and he told him to come home and relax," says Ngobeni.

A telephonic conversation with Nengomasha, who spent a decade at Chiefs, also contributed to convincing Billiat to cross the floor. The expectation was for Billiat to swap the mellow yellow of the Brazilians for the black and white of Orlando Pirates, owing to the ties that bind him and Rhulani Mokwena, the assistant coach of the Buccaneers who worked with Billiat at Chloorkop.

But in the end Billiat chose Chiefs, who are still without a coach, where he will reunite with former teammates Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Leonardo Castro, with whom he formed the fearsome CBD alongside Keagan Dolly a couple of seasons back.


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