By Mazola Molefe
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says he is no longer involved in contract negotiations to try and hold on to striker Khama Billiat.
The club’s two-goal hero in their Absa Premiership 3-0 win over hapless Platinum Stars on Saturday night is apparently still deadlocked in talks over his future, but Mosimane insisted he had washed his hands off the matter.
“It’s not in my hands,” the coach said. “I think when you ask Arsene Wenger (Arsenal manager) also he will tell you with this whole (Alexis) Sanchez and (Mesut) Ozil situation (contracts running out at the end of the season). It’s like that for me also. But what is important is for us to have back up. We love him. If he stays it’s okay.”
Billiat is said to be pushing for an improved offer after being enticed by several clubs in the domestic league as well as a few abroad, although it looks unlikely that he will play outside of South Africa.
His contract expires at the end of the season and he had missed seven league matches because of a knee injury before returning this week to score two well-taken free kicks.
“It is up to his agent and the board of Sundowns,” Mosimane explained. “The contract discussions are still happening with the board and his agent. My job is to do what I am doing here – to make sure the team keeps going and staying on top of the log. The rest I am no longer part of that.”
Salary demand would destabilise dressing room
Club president Patrice Motsepe suggested last week that Billiat wanted a salary package that would destabilise the harmony in the dressing room if his teammates were to find out how much he was earning should he be given a new deal.
Given his contribution to the team, it looks likely that Mosimane will continue playing Billiat until he is no longer at the club, and the fact that he was back in the starting line-up on Saturday means he might not be leaving in this January transfer window.
Billiat has previosuly said that he would remain professional and not allow his situation affect his performances, and the evidence was there when he bagged the double to win them the game.
“I still want to play for this club (while under contract). I just want to play football. It is very important for me to be professional because I don’t want to look like I am disrespecting everyone. I have teammates that keep pushing me as well and the technical team that has taught me so much,” explained Billiat.
He has been previously linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, where he could potentially triple his salary at Sundowns, but other PSL teams will also be monitoring the situation with keen interest. Billiat can sign a pre-contract in January with any club he wants to join at the end of the season as per Fifa rules. – Independent Online
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