Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena has revealed why the club passed on the chance to sign Khama Billiat.
The skilful attacker was heavily linked with a move to the Buccaneers after his much publicised departure from Mamelodi Sundowns at the end of the 2017/18 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season, and Mokwena admits that it was their decision not to sign the 28-year-old.
“I still have a very good relationship with Khama, we speak. I know that you guys know that we tried to sign Khama,” Mokwena told the media on Monday.
With Mokwena having worked closely with Billiat at Chloorkop, the duo were rumoured to reunite in Houghton after it was clear that Billiat's future with the Brazilians was at a crossroad.
“We decided at the last minute not to sign him. We had lots of talks with Khama, between myself and Khama, we were very close to bringing him to the Black and White,” continued the assistant coach.
“But we decided on protecting the changeroom more than anything else, because the ratio between the expense – and I’m not only talking about the salary, because I’ve heard a lot of talk about that, but the expense with regards to injuries and certain other factors,” he said.
“And the profit that we would get, we thought that it did not make sense. It’s not that Pirates lost out on the race to sign Khama, Pirates didn’t lose out, Pirates decided not to sign Khama,” concluded the tactician.
Mokwena's sentiments are seen as a little bit of spice being thrown in ahead of the highly anticipated Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In addition, Billiat is set to face Mokwena and Pirates for the first time this season since finding a new home at Naturena.
With tickets having already been sold out, the encounter is expected to produce fireworks as Chiefs will also want to avenge the 3-1 defeat that they suffered in the second round of the league last season.