Warriors Will Miss Billiat – Mapeza

Norman Mapeza says the Warriors will miss the X-Factor, which Khama Billiat brings to the team in their 2022 World Cup qualifier, against Ghana on Saturday.

The Kaizer Chiefs forward is unavailable for the first, of the back-to-back matches, because of suspension.

He will be available for the second match, at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, next week. Billiat has, however, travelled to Ghana to bond with his teammates and take part in the training sessions.

Mapeza, who is the interim coach, said he wanted to know if Billiat was low on confidence, and will have a chat with him, during their tour of Ghana.

“Khama Billiat, I worked with him before, I know his strengths and weaknesses, so it was good for him to travel with the squad, so that I can assess him,” Mapeza told Zimpapers Television Network programme, The Couch.

“I also need to know what’s going on with him.

“You know these footballers, sometimes, you need to talk to them because if he is low in confidence, maybe he needs one, two words, or three words, to pick himself up.

“So, I will talk to him, then make a decision from there.”

The interim Warriors coach, and part of his team, left the country yesterday, for Ghana.

The team, which flew out of Harare yesterday, featured the home-based players and France-based midfielder, Marshal Munetsi.

They were set to link up, with their South Africa-based counterparts, in Johannesburg, before flying out to Accra.

The Warriors delegation were expected to arrive in the Ghanaian capital, late last night. It’s where they will join the crew from England and the United States.

Captain Knowledge Musona, was the first Warrior to arrive in Accra, on Monday night.

Mapeza said he will have discussions with some of his men, about the roles they prefer to play.

“What I need to do first is to sit down with all the guys in the squad, save for FC Platinum guys, whom I know definitely,” he said.

“I think I need to sit down, and talk to them, and understand exactly where do they think, if they play, they will play to the best of their abilities.

“So, it is the same thing with (Jordan) Zemura, if he says, I have been playing more as an offensive (player) on the left side of the midfield, and is more comfortable playing in the midfield, then I will use him on that side.

“But, I want to play players in their preferred positions.” He said he will also have a chat with Aston Villa midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba.

“I also need to talk to Marvelous Nakamba, he needs to give me his opinion on where he feels he can give us a good job, on Saturday,” said Mapeza.

“He was playing more as a defensive midfielder but, like I said, I will sit down and talk to him.

“If he is more comfortable, playing as holding midfielder, then no problem.

“If he feels like, maybe, he can do a better job, playing as a box-to-box midfielder, then again, that would be brilliant for us.

“I am someone who wants my players to have a bit of flexibility.

“Although there isn’t much time, I will talk to the boys, before I choose my first eleven.”

The coach also explained why he stuck to the bulk of the players who did duty in the previous matches. -StateMedia