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Booth likens Kaizer Chiefs attacker Billiat's resurgence to Manchester United’s Pogba

3:02 AM MYT 01/12/2021
Khama Billiat, Kaizer Chiefs, August 2021
The Zimbabwe international has picked up form and playing much better than the previous three seasons at Naturena

Former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth says Keagan Dolly’s arrival at Kaizer Chiefs has helped Khama Billiat to rediscover his game the way Paul Pogba’s form was sparked by the signing of Bruno Fernandes.

Since joining Chiefs before the start of the 2018/19 season, Billiat has struggled to rediscover his best football.

But the arrival of his former Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Dolly at Naturena appears to have reignited the Zimbabwean’s game.

The pair is rewinding their Sundowns days with a combination that has so far yielded 10 goals and eight assists between them.

“It was very difficult for him [Billiat] to flourish, especially last season, if you consider the environment where the club could not sign players,” said Booth as per Sowetan Live.

“He also struggled to settle down because they played with younger and inexperienced players, which made it difficult for him to come out of his shell and show his qualities.

“If you look at Paul Pogba when he arrived at Manchester United, for example, the pressure on him to perform was immense and he wasn’t able to lift the team. But as soon as Bruno Fernandes arrived and there was some quality around him, all of a sudden he lifted his game.

“There was a massive difference between Pogba at Manchester United and Pogba with the French national team. He played exceptionally well for France and before Fernandez arrived at Man United he was poor and average.

“Similarly with Billiat, the arrival of Dolly has helped him and there is synergy between the two because they played together at Ajax Cape Town and at Sundowns.”

The partnership between Billiat and Dolly is largely credited to Chiefs’ rise to second on the Premier Soccer League table.

While PSL followers are keen to see Chiefs challenge Sundowns for the league title, Booth feels they are too defensive.

“Chiefs have become more defensive in the midfield to protect the two centre backs and that has led to healthy pressure on Bernard Parker, Billiat and Dolly to carry the team from an attacking perspective,” said Booth.

“Though it is not a typical style of Chiefs that we are used to, but they have three defensive-minded midfielders in Phathutshedzo Nange, Cole Alexander and Njabulo Ngcobo.

“It reminds me a bit of Joel Santana when he played Kagisho Dikgacoi, Macbeth Sibaya and Benson Mhlongo in the midfield for Bafana Bafana.”