JOHANNESBURG - Every game and training session SuperSport United are involved in is like a never ending-audition for defender Grant Kekana.
And that’s because the 24-year-old right-back knows that he cannot afford to put a foot wrong. Do that and coach Eric Tinkler might opt to field Siyabonga Nhlapo, who is itching for some game time following his three-year deal move from Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits.
Not that there’s any bad blood or unhealthy competition between the players. But Kekana fully understands that if he doesn’t up his game he might see himself being asked not to come back to the club when the season ends.
Kekana signed a one-year extension deal with Matsatsantsa in the middle of this year, and the player is determined to fight to keep his place at the club.
“My ambition is to play as many games as possible this season and apply myself in training so that I can be chosen to be in the starting XI more often,” said Kekana, who’s featured in SuperSport’s last four games in all competitions.
“When (Michael) Boxall left, that provided me with a chance to fight for my place in the starting line-up, and I believe I’m headed in the right direction so far.
“When I first started playing, I had big ambitions which I had set for myself. But somehow, along the way, I kind of lost track of all of that. However, my focus now is all set on improving my individual performances and making sure that things start opening up for me as time progresses.
“I don’t want to be sidetracked (all over again) over what I want to become,” Kekana added. “I just need to continue working hard to solidify my place in the team, and hopefully I’ll get a new contract by the end of this season.”
Kekana added that both of his defensive partners, Clayton Daniels and Morgan Gould, have been very influential in helping him to up his game. The Limpopo-born defender also hopes signs of improvement will show in their defensive play when they take on Maritzburg United in an away clash at Harry Gwala Stadium next week Saturday, following their 1-1 draw at home.
“We played four games in all competitions so far,” Kekana said. “And in those matches, we managed to produce two wins, a draw and a loss.
"We are quite pleased with that given the fact that we didn’t have a proper offseason like the other teams in the PSL due to our commitment in our CAF Confederation Cup campaign. I truly believe that we can build on those performances, and also believe that the Fifa break came at the right time for us to recover and work on our mistakes.
“We’ll go out to Maritzburg guns blazing for our second leg meeting against them. The goal that we conceded in the first leg was more of a sucker punch from their side,” Kekana added.
“We intend to be more solid in the rearguard this time around, while the rest of the guys up front continue to try make sure we score with every chance we create.”
Meanwhile, Kekana warned that his teammates mustn’t take Sunday’s Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge match against the Ke Yona team lightly, as the amateur side will be fired up to make a name for themselves against football professionals whom they’ve watched on their television sets all their live.