Highlands Park's Owen da Gama highlights Khama Billiat's importance at Kaizer Chiefs

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The Absa Premiership returnees may have collected eight points from their seven matches, but five of those have been draws while only one has produced maximum points.

Their midweek performance against Amakhosi was arguably their most impressive of the campaign thus far; however, their failure to score despite their dominance was particularly questionable.

Having rued the absence of talisman Peter Shalulile in previous games, Da Gama has defended his progress following his long-term injury lay-off, comparing the 24-year-old Namibian’s impact to that of Billiat’s at The Glamour Boys.

“What we need to be honest about is that Peter Shalulile was our top goal scorer [last season]. He won a lot of games single-handedly, like Khama Billiat does for Chiefs,” said Da Gama.

“He was everything to the team, and this was the first game he’s started [for the season]. I think he brings [a lot to the team]; his pace allows other players to play.

“I think, and I’m not trying to be funny, but, if you take Khama Billiat out of Chiefs, it’s not the same. If you take Shalulile out of Highlands Park, it’s not the same; if you take Lindokuhle Mbatha out, it’s not the same.”

The former Bafana Bafana assistant coach also reserved a word of praise for his opposite number in Giovanni Solinas, who he feels has done a great job since his arrival late into pre-season at Naturena.

“We must give Solinas credit, he came late into the team, he didn’t find his feet immediately and there was a lot of criticism, but he turned it around and made it work. He’d done a fantastic job,” he added.