We can’t afford to sell Billiat & Castro – Middendorp

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The story of Zimbabwean and Kaizer Chiefs international attacker Khama Billiat making a big move in this transfer window is refusing to die down but his club coach Ernst Middendorp is adamant that he’s not going anywhere.

Following a good showing at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Egypt, Billiat has attracted a lot of good offers from clubs in Asia, North Africa and Europe.

SABC Sport knows of interest from a Dutch club, a R21m offer from Zamalek, a R17m offer from Al Ahly and a couple of offers from clubs in the Gulf region.

Chiefs has been reported to be holding out for anything R30m and above but Middendorp today pleaded ignorance to this.

It’s got to be noted that the offers are handled by the management and not the technical stuff and Chiefs recently sold Billiat’s fellow countryman Teenage Hadebe to a Turkish team also following a good performance at the AFCON. There’s also a reported interest from Mamelodi Sundowns where he joined from on a free last season but it’s high unlikely that would take place, unless a crazy South African transfer fee record would be set.

Another hot topic now at Chiefs is the issue of foreign players to be registered for this season, they are currently sitting on six foreign players following the arrival of three players in this window to occupy this space.

Before the overseas deal of Hadebe, Leonardo Castro and Andriamirado “Dax” Andriarimanana were said to be the players on the way out.

But now, with only one players needed to be released, it looks like the Malagasy player is the one to make way.

Middendorp was clear earlier today that he wants the Castro to stay.

Dax’s no.6 jersey number has already been allocated to newly signed midfielder Kearyn Baccus, who is also a holding midfielder.

Tuesday, Chiefs paraded their four new signings, Zambian striker Lazarous Kambole, Ghanaian anchorman James Kotei, another holding midfielder Kearyn Baccus from Australia but born in Durban and Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic.

Many have expressed their reservations about some of these signings as it is only Kambole who is known to be a top player to the locals.

But Middendorp says it was a collective effort to bring these players.

Meanwhile, ahead of the Carling Black Label Cup against arch rivals Orlando Pirates at the FNB stadium on Saturday, Middendorp has expressed his reservations about the readiness of some of his starting-line up players.

He says Bafana Bafana players Daniel Cardoso and Ramahlwe Mphahlele are not ready for this game and stopped short of saying if it was according to him, he wasn’t going to field them.

Chiefs had six players at the AFCON and only Billiat and Hadebe got enough game time.

Mphahlele and Dax only featured in one game whilst Cardoso and goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma didn’t play at all.

And Middendorp describes the intense training camp that has involved players who weren’t at the AFCON. – Report by Velile Mnyandu