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Zimbabwean Billiat stars after Mugabe quits

“Starting as a substitute meant I heard all the instructions of our coach (Pitso Mosimane),” said Billiat.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov 21 – Zimbabwean Khama Billiat stole the South African Premiership show Tuesday on a momentous day for his country with Robert Mugabe resigning as president after ruling the nation for 37 years.

The slightly-built attacker came off the bench during the second half in Johannesburg to score the goals that brought 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns a 2-0 triumph at Wits.

When title-holders Wits lost possession cheaply near the touchline, Percy Tau crossed for Billiat to sidefoot the ball past goalkeeper Darren Keet from close range on 62 minutes.

Billiat doubled the lead eight minutes from time by sprinting on to a defence-splitting pass and hammering the ball across Keet into the far corner of the net.

The brace earned the 27-year-old Zimbabwean the man-of-the-match award, but he steered clear of commenting on the dramatic developments in his homeland a couple of hours before.

Mugabe quit under pressure from his own political party, the army and the public after ruling the now economically-crippled country since independence from Britain in 1980.

“Starting as a substitute meant I heard all the instructions of our coach (Pitso Mosimane),” said Billiat.

“This meant that I knew how he wanted me to operate when I came on and my team-mates gave me the opportunities to win the match.”

Victory lifted Sundowns four places to fourth in the standings after 11 rounds, three points behind leaders Baroka having played three fewer matches.

Baroka, who drew 1-1 at Cape Town City, have 18 points and second-place Golden Arrows 16 after a 0-0 draw with Orlando Pirates in Soweto.

Arrows lead Cape Town on goal difference, and Sundowns, Bloemfontein Celtic and Pirates have 15 points.

Malawian Robin Ngalande put Baroka ahead soon after half-time in Cape Town and Craig Martin levelled midway through the second half.