Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football writer
2 minute read
24 Jun 2021
1:03 pm

Manyama back, Billiat still doubtful for Kaizer Chiefs

Sibongiseni Gumbi

The return of Manyama gives Chiefs a boost ahead of the second leg of their Caf Champions League semifinal.

Lebogang Manyama could be back for Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday. Picture: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix.

The return of Lebogang Manyama will give Kaizer Chiefs technical team more attacking options in Saturday’s crucial Caf Champions League semifinal second leg against Wydad Athletic. The two giants meet at FNB Stadium at 6pm.

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Amakhosi have a slight advantage having beaten Wydad 1-0 in the away leg last weekend. They did the job with a mostly defensive line-up with Manyama, Khama Billiat and Dumisani Zuma left behind due to injuries.

While Manyama has recovered and is set to make the team, Billiat is still doubtful but could be set for a late fitness test on Friday afternoon. Arthur Zwane has said that Zuma is still out of action.

Kaizer Chiefs need to win or draw the game to advance to the final ,where could well meet Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly. The Egyptian giants also scored a 1-0 away win at Esperance of Tunisia last weekend.

The availability of Manyama and Billiat would give Amakhosi a massive boost. Manyama formed a lethal combination with Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro towards the end of their domestic campaign.

He played as a wide forward and delivered a spectacular hat-trick against Golden Arrows in Kaizer Chiefs’ penultimate league game. He had been previously used as a No. 10 or winger under Gavin Hunt and struggled to keep up with the pace of the game.

But, since Hunt’s departure, he played as a wide forward and excelled under interim coaches Zwane and Dillon Shepard. Billiat, if fit, will provide good cover for Castro, who works hard but seems to tire out towards the end of games.

He could bring a different dimension with his silky skills, to give the Wydad defence some problems. Zuma is also another good option in attack because of his speed and agility. But the technical team may again opt for a more conservative “park the bus” approach and not worry about attack as they already have a good advantage.

It remains to be seen, meanwhile, whether Kaizer Chiefs new head coach Stuart Baxter’s work permit has arrived and he will be available to sit on the bench at FNB Stadium on Saturday.