Sports / Soccer
Billiat' prohibitive R2.5 million buyout clause
07 Feb 2017 at 05:19hrs | Views
KHAMA Billiat may have to wait longer than anticipated before he can fulfil his dream to play in Europe after it emerged that the Warriors forward has a prohibitive R2,5 million buyout clause which could be stifling a move away from Mamelodi Sundowns.
The 26-year-old talented forward has been the subject of fierce debate in domestic football circles with pundits, fans and players alike arguing he is now more than ripe for a move to a league bigger than the South African Premiership.
Billiat has been hot property since he helped Sundowns win the ABSA Premiership title and his stock grew even bigger when he led the Brazilians to Champions League glory.
The former Ajax Cape Town man also combined with his close friend Knowledge Musona to inspire the Warriors to only their third appearance at the African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon.
Billiat also underlined his growing status when he was named the best player in the ABSA Premiership for the 2015-16 season.
In a memorable season, he also swept all the major individual awards, including being voted Kick-Off's Footballer of the Season.
He was also named among the Best XI African players last year.
It is against the background of his fine showings for club and country that both Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Zamalek launched separate bids for his signature while interest has also been reported from such clubs as Italian outfit Lazio, Musona's Belgian side KV Oostende and Legia Warsaw of Poland.
French and Chinese clubs are also understood to have put Billiat under their radars.
But Billiat's move to a European club, it has emerged, has been stalled by a prohibitive buy-out clause.
He still has 17 months left on his contract.
Crucially, should any club table its bid for Billiat, Sundowns could invoke the buy-out clause which is priced at 2,5 million.
Sources close to the goings-on at Sundowns revealed that his former club Ajax Cape Town also stand to benefit from an onward sale of Billiat from the Brazilians.
The sources also noted that with Billiat, just a few months before he turns 27, the buyout has been scaring away a number of European clubs from entering a deal to prize him away from Sundowns.
"Sundowns paid a lot of money when they bought him from Ajax Cape Town and will surely not easily let go of the player.
"So, as it stands, it is either Sundowns accept less than 2,5 million and release him to potential buyers or they demand the full amount because he is still contracted to them and they hold the aces.
"But whatever move, whether it is to Europe or SuperSport United, it must also be noted that Ajax Cape Town also stand to benefit a certain percentage from the sale of the player and they will always remain an interested party.
"At the moment there hasn't been any offer that has been equivalent or which has matched the amount on the buyout clause which we can say has so far come in Khama's way because that entails to a club splashing more than $3 million,'' the sources said.
Eight-time African champions Al Ahly are understood to have come closest with the Egyptians offering 1,2 million while Sundowns wanted an offer that was closer to 2,5 million in order to allow them to leave.
Unlike Billiat, his strike partner Keegan Dolly had a 1,2 million buyout clause which was matched by French top-flight league side Montpellier, who snapped up the 23-year-old Bafana Bafana player last week.
"At 26 Khama has a slight disadvantage in that some clubs might find it expensive to match the buyout clause and for Dolly he is three years younger and that could have helped in him get a long term deal from Montpellier,'' the sources said.
However, Dolly's move to Europe has added further debate about Billiat's situation in South Africa, Zimbabwe and other parts of the continent.
Billiat must also be asking himself some questions as this is the second time inside five years that he has seen his club mate move to Europe while he remains stuck in the ABSA Premiership.
Five years ago, Billiat saw his then Ajax Cape Town teammate, Thulani Serero, win the South African Footballer of the Season and Players' Player of the Season awards and then move to Europe to join Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam.
Serero has since played in the UEFA Champions League.
Billiat's Warriors teammate, Musona, who used Super Diski as a launching pad for a career in Europe where he has since established himself in Belgium, has been urging his national teammate to come and join him in the big leagues where the majority of the best players in the world ply their trade.
Source - the herald