Katsande speaks out on Chiefs star man


Willard Katsande has thrown his voice into dissecting fellow countryman Khama Billiat’s surprise decision to retire from international football just seven weeks before the start of the AFCON finals.

Billiat this week chose to quit Warriors duty straight after playing as captain in the last two games of a disastrous 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

Instead of being in Cameroon with the best from the continent, Billiat will now be focusing all his energies on Kaizer Chiefs where he is yet to win any silverware since joining from Mamelodi Sundowns in July 2018.

Scroll through the gallery to see the international players among Kaizer Chiefs' ranks

"For me, the national team is going to miss his services because he was vital and influential to the group especially now at a level where he was a senior player and captain like he was for the past two games," Katsande tells KickOff.com.

The Sekhukhune United strongman played with Billiat at both club level with Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs and in the national team.

"So, obviously they have lost an important player not only for the team but for us as a nation because we really wanted him going towards the AFCON. Our objective at this AFCON was to be better than the previous editions when we have been there which is to try and go beyond the group stages. Losing a player like him in a short space of time before the biggest African showpiece starts is a big setback for the entire nation.

"We were thinking that maybe he was going to hold back a bit but at the same time, he has his own reasons why he took that decision. I haven’t spoken to him, but the most important thing is to respect his decision as a professional but judging from a professional perspective he felt like it is time for him. I can relate with mine (decision) as well when I retired (from international football) I was at a similar age (31) and I felt like it was my time to step down but hearing that people still wanted my service I had to consider coming back," says Katsande.

"I hope he is going to consider coming back but we don’t have to rush him because we need to respect his decision and wait to hear from him about what made him take this decision. I hope that I will talk to him very soon to convince him and hear his side of the story about why he made the decision. At the end of the day, we support him with the decision he took because he is an adult and a senior player. We just need to celebrate the legacy that he has left in the national team, and it is not something which is just there for fun but something that we will remember," he adds.

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