HARARE – Khama Billiat is in the running to be crowned the best player in the South African Premiership after he was nominated for two top gongs yesterday.
The 25-year-old Zimbabwe international had a prolific 2015-16 season as he helped Mamelodi Sundowns win the title with a record 71 points.
The Zimbabwean was also instrumental in the Tshwane-based side’s road to clinching the Telkom Knockout trophy.
Together with teammates Keagan Dolly and Hlompho Kekana, the Brazilians trio was named as the nominees for the Footballer of the Season award.
The Sundowns trio is also in the running for the prestigious Absa Premiership Player’s Player of the Season award.
It does not end there for Bafana baStyle; Billiat, Kekana and Dolly have also been named as the nominees for the Absa Premiership Midfielder of the Season gong.
Dolly and Kekana would not hold any grudges if Billiat walks away with all the three gongs at the Super Diski end of season gala to be held next Monday.
The Zimbabwean was the shining beacon in the fearsome Sundowns CBD frontline which also featured Dolly and Leonardo Castro.
Billiat, who was last week named the Kick Off Footballer of the Year, finished the season with 12 goals just one behind Prince Nxumalo of Ajax Cape Town and Thobani Mncwango of Polokwane City.
Zambian Collins Mbesuma, who now turns out for Mpumalanga Black Aces, won the Golden Boot with 14 goals.
On the assists front, there was no one near the Zimbabwean as he went on to provide a staggering 20 in all competitions for Pitso Mosimane’s side.
The Sundowns coach has gone on record to back Billiat to win the top awards.
“He had a brilliant season with Dolly,” Mosimane told Kick Off. “I was speaking to them and asked Keagan, ‘How many goals did you score at Ajax?’. He said he couldn’t remember, but not more than four. Yet today he is still the same player, but he has won cups.
“Khama has won four cups now, it’s unbelievable, it’s brilliant! It shows that anybody can achieve something.”
Mosimane says he knew Billiat had the potential to win individual accolades after arriving at Chloorkop.
“I told Khama ‘when you come to Sundowns, I am bringing you to win the footballer of the year,’” he said.
“I told him, I said to him, ‘You will win the footballer of the season’.
“It was like a talk, it took time. It took us three years.
“Even if he doesn’t win (at the PSL awards), he is my footballer of the year.”
At the moment, the Zimbabwean, who was once singled out by Rio Ferdinand as a future star, has attracted interest from various European clubs.
“I am happy that I have been nominated. If I don’t win it then it will go to one of my brothers,” Billiat said yesterday at the press conference to announce the Super Diski awards nominees.
“Coach Pitso told me when I first arrived at Sundowns that I would win the footballer of the season one day.
“It’s good that my performance is attracting interest from Europe. But at the moment I am still a Sundowns player and I am celebrating the success with them, but we have to wait and see what will happen.
“If it happens that I leave for Europe, it will be a dream come true but if it doesn’t work out, I will be happy to be here with Sundowns.”