Zimbabwean footballer Khama Billiat, who plays for Kaizer Chiefs, on Monday announced his retirement from international football at the age of 31.
Billiat captained the Zimbabwe Warriors in their last two FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifiers. The Warriors lost 1-0 to South Africa in Johannesburg last Thursday.
On Sunday, Zimbabwe drew one-all against Ethiopia in Harare to bow out of the FIFA World Cup 2022 with only two points from a possible 18.
And with the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations starting in two months, many fans expected Billiat to play in the continental showpiece.
However, in an emotional letter posted on social media, Billiat said he was retiring and he thanked his fellow Zimbabweans and national team members for the support throughout the years.
Billiat said it was now time for new talent to serve Zimbabwe the same way he did during his nine-year period with the senior national team.
“I have decided to retire from international football. I believe now is the time for me to pave way for new talent to blossom and serve the country in the same way I did, or even better,” said the Kaizer Chiefs attacking midfielder.
“I will forever be indebted to those who took a chance on me and moulded me into the international player I grew to become. Thank you Zimbabwe for supporting me and my teammates, for showing me love with each outing.”
He made his debut in the Zimbabwe national team under coach Norman Mapeza a decade ago.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns player made his senior national team debut against Mali in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier back in 2011.
Billiat has represented the Warriors at the continental showpiece twice in 2017 and 2019.
The Aces Youth Soccer Academy graduate scored 17 goals in 46 appearances for Zimbabwe.
Although he did not say, Billiat’s decision to retire may have been prompted by the Warriors’ dismal form in the World Cup qualifiers.
His retirement is a significant blow to Zimbabwe ahead of the Afcon finals in Cameroon early next year.