The Herald (Harare)

23 December 2011

Zimbabwe: Khama Billiat for Ajax Amsterdam

TALENTED Zimbabwe international soccer striker Khama Billiat will early next month get a chance to showcase his skills on the European stage when he attends a weeklong attachment with top Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam.

Billiat is one of four players that South African Premiership side Ajax Cape Town are sending to their mother club in Holland for a week of training and a chance to impress Ajax Amsterdam coach Frank de Boer.

Zimbabwe starlet Billiat and utility defender Thato Mokeke will be leaving together on January 14 for a week's training with the former European champions followed seven days later by George Maluleka and defender Nazeer Allie.

The second pair is according to their coach Maarten Stekelenburg, scheduled to leave on January 21 after a two-week stay with Bafana Bafana.

Bafana Bafana had called Allie for the three matches against Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Zambia, along with Maluleka and captain Granwald Scott.

Stekelenburg told his players about the overseas trip in the change room after their narrow 4-3 win over Black Leopards at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.

"We hope they will have a great time and we hope they will learn a lot and show their talent," said Stekelenburg.

"It is a great opportunity for these guys and it also shows the commitment of the people in Amsterdam to us here in Cape Town."

But for Billiat, who is expected back home for the festive season today, it could be a chance to follow the footsteps of close friend and former Aces Youth Academy club mate Knowledge Musona who is now playing in the German Bundesliga.

Billiat's manager Edzai Kasinauyo was yesterday excited about the attachment and challenged his player to prove his mettle.

Kasinauyo also said he was confident Billiat would acquit himself well in Holland.

"It (the attachment) is a matter of giving the players exposure and Amsterdam are a great club. I think it is a very good opportunity for Khama. He is a young man who has done a lot and a lot has also come his way, which he has to deal with.

"This opportunity will help him to mature and we will monitor him closely to see how things will progress. I am happy for him and I hope he will grab this opportunity with both hands.

"These are the kind of situations that can bring a man out of a boy and I am sure we will see Khama the man coming out of Khama the boy.

"When I was speaking to George Commitis while he was in Holland, he was also excited and very confident that Khama will succeed and we can only wish him well," Kasinauyo said.

The former Warriors and Ajax Cape Town midfielder said it was also imperative that Billiat did not exert himself under pressure but at the same time push himself to match Amsterdam's expectations.

"Obviously Ajax Amsterdam will make their recommendations after the attachment and so it is also up to the player to push himself and do his best during that time," Kasinauyo said.

Meanwhile, defender Zvenyika Makonese will be playing for South African Premiership side Black Leopards in the New Year.

This is after the former Warriors centre back passed his trials with Lidoda Duvha recently.

Leopards' spokesperson Tendani Thidiela confirmed that the former Orlando Pirates defender would be registered with the club in January. He did well during his trials and will definitely be signed by us this season.

He has gone back home but will return to South Africa in January in time to register him when the transfer window re-opens." Thidiela also cleared the air surrounding the absence of midfielder Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi from the team.

"There is nothing wrong with Vilakazi; it's just that the competition in the midfield is tough and that's why he has not been playing."

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