ZIMBABWE football legend and Mamelodi Sundowns team manager Peter Ndlovu has reacted angrily to allegations laid against him which suggested he has been blocking Warriors forward Khama Billiat from joining camp, saying it was unfair for people to question his loyalty to the national cause.
BY SPORTBRIEF REPORTER
The former Warriors captain, the first to take Zimbabwe to their maiden Nations Cup finals in Tunisia in 2004, before leading them again to Egypt in 2006, flew into the country from his base in South Africa yesterday along with Billiat as he sought to clarify the issue after team manager Wellington Mupandare had suggested Ndlovu was playing a part in blocking the Zimbabwean star from joining camp.
Billiat, had been included in the squad to face Liberia despite reports suggesting he was injured. Although he was sidelined for Mamelodi Sundown’s clash against Esperance of Tunisia in the Caf Champions League on Friday night, he was hoping to recover in time and play a part on Sunday.
The Warriors medical team had requested that the player comes with his medical report so they could assess him for a second opinion.
Ndlovu told reporters at a news conference in Harare yesterday that they meant it that the player was injured and therefore could not play a part on Sunday.
He said Billiat had been out of action for almost five weeks at Mamelodi Sundowns and had only come to present him to the medical team for their assessment after which they would go back. The former Warriors skipper refuted reports suggesting he was blocking Billiat from coming to join camp saying the problem emanated from the fact that ZIFA was sending the information on the travelling arrangements to the player instead of sending it to the club.
“The first thing is, I would like to tell you that Khama is here. People were saying he is not coming. As you know Khama is injured. I have his medical history with me. I have everything with me. Just to give you a background of the old Zimbabwe set up with Sundowns, it’s a norm, when a player is called up, we request for travel arrangements so that we know where our player is and how we can arrange and facilitate so that he comes back as quickly as he can. So Zifa did not send the travel arrangements to us, they sent it to the player. That is the reality and true story. We acknowledged the call up and said we need the itinerary to go with it. At the same time we sent them the medical history. Khama has not been training for five weeks at Sundowns, ,” said Ndlovu.
The Zimbabwe football legend said it was unfair for people to question his loyalty to Zimbabwe and that there was no reason he would prevent Billiat from turning out for his country. “As a Zimbabwean first, why would I not want Khama to come and perform for the country. I want to win things. I want him to win things. Why would I shut him? Why would I shut Zimbabwe? For me I am Zimbabwean, Khama is Zimbabwean and we must represent Zimbabwe and honour that. I personally spoke to the team manager. There was another mistake on the ticket sent to Khama. It had no date of return and he had to correct that,” said Ndlovu.
The Brazillians’ team manager also said he and his coach Pitso Mosimane had a conservation with Mupandare and Warriors coach Norman Mapeza. He said Mosimane humbled himself during the conversation but it turned a bit sour after Mupandare allegedly said “tell us, is Khama coming or not?
Ndlovu said although they did not take that lightly, he did not hold grudges and emphasised that he remained committed to the national cause especially after having given everything to Zimbabwean football.
He also praised Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa for putting Zimbabwe on the map. Ndlovu said he also has had respect for former coach Kalisto Pasuwa and current coach Mapeza.