AT A time when he is looking for ways to salvage his stuttering career, Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs winger Khama Billiat has triggered fresh debate after appointing Godfrey “Vokal” Bakasa as his new manager.
Bakasa is popular in the local musical circles after working as a manager to Zimdancehall artistes such as Seh Calaz, Tocky Vibes as well as hip-hop star Stunner leaving people to question whether he is the right person for Billiat.
The 30-year-old Warriors forward did not renew his contract with Mike Ngobeni of M-Sports Management, despite playing a major role in facilitating his move to Kaizer Chiefs.
Billiat’s move comes at a time when the forward is experiencing a colossal dip in form after netting only one goal and providing a single assist during this campaign.
During the 1-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernest Middendorp dropped the Zimbabwean to the bench and only introduced him as a late second half substitute.
A football agent’s core responsibilities include negotiating contracts to achieve the best possible outcome for their client and securing lucrative endorsement and sponsorship deals.
Besides taking care of the intricacies of financial issues, agents are also responsible for managing their clients’ public relations and arranging interviews.
In order for an individual to qualify to be an agent, they have to be registered and pass an exam organised by the relevant football association from their home country.
Speaking with the Daily News last week, Bakasa said he is the best man for the job and will do everything in his power to help revive his client’s fortunes.
“What he is going through is normal and he will eventually overcome it. I’m coming in to manage and market the brand Khama as well as his football business for now. I’m one of the people he has chosen to work with and we are looking forward to the task,” Bakasa said.
“Of course, there is a lot of work to be done and it starts now. What’s important is to work with Khama in his best interests to make sure that everything will be handled correctly and professionally.”
One of the leading football agents in local football George Deda believes Billiat should have looked for a more experienced manager at this crucial stage of his career.
The former Ajax Cape Town player is now in the final year of his Chiefs deal which comes to an end next June.
“I cannot exclusively comment on Khama because I’m not privy to what’s really going with his management. However, if he has indeed settled for someone with strong musical links than football, then probably he needs some help,” Deda told the Daily News On Sunday.
“My understanding is that you should have someone with the knowledge of the particular subject for instance if it’s something to do with law, I would engage lawyers for proper guidance. Similarly, if it’s something to do with medical issues I would look for doctors.
“It will be unwise for a person like me to seek counsel on football matters from a person like Soul Jah Love. Get me right here I’m not dismissing Khama’s manager because maybe he is coming on the publicity side while working with someone with strong football connections.
“We will have to give them time and see how it goes, he could probably bring the best out of Khama.”
Deda, who recently worked together with fellow local agent Gibson Mahachi to take Highlanders forward Prince Dube to Tanzanian giants Azam FC, urged Zimbabwean players to work with their compatriots.
“One thing, though I want to tell our local players is to learn to trust their own countrymen. I see no reason why most of our players change managers once they are in foreign leagues,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has some of the best managers like myself, Mahachi and many others. We are much better than some of these football agents.”
Former CAPS United forward Alois Bunjira also added his voice to the debate regarding Billiat’s partnership with Bakasa.
“Sometimes in life we need proper guidance especially career-wise. My understanding in football management is that one needs someone with experience and who is connected and is able to take you from one stage to other,” Bunjira told the Daily News on Sunday.
“A manager is there to look after player’s welfare and even help in a lot of things including investments and who can relate to your personal life.
“You need a manager who can even discuss stuff with your coach and who is able to even look for a new club for you whilst you concentrate on playing.
“I believe since football is your career, you need someone who understands it; a manager should bring the best out of you. A manager should be one who works tirelessly to take you to the top.
“As for Khama I can’t say much but I trust his choice has some of these qualities of course. I’m sure if he is satisfied with this guy, I don’t see any problem.”
Football analyst Martin Changachirere feels Billiat’s decision is ill-informed.
“With the levels and exposure Khama has reached it is more of a down grade. Given his poster-boy status he has for both club and country, he needed a man who is experienced to handle his lofty status,” Changachirere told the Daily News on Sunday.
“How can you take someone with a musical background to handle your football matters? It looks more like Khama is managing Vokal. Vokal needs someone, whom he can work under first as an understudy. In a way this announcement is a subtle announcement of his decline.”