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Mamelodi Sundowns legend Hlompho Kekana hanging up those ‘Puskas’ boots

Hlompho Kekana was an inspirational leader during his time with Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Hlompho Kekana was an inspirational leader during his time with Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Aug 2, 2022

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Durban - After almost a year as a free-agent, Hlompho Kekana has announced his retirement in a heartfelt message on social media.

A midfielder by trade, Kekana will go down as a modern day South African Premiership legend. He started his career with Black Leopards, but is best remembered for spells with SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns, where he won league titles under Gavin Hunt and Pitso Mosimane, respectively.

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“As a kid growing up in Limpopo, I always knew that I wanted to play football. I have spoken a few times in my career about how I put up the bread money on football games as a kid. I can’t start thanking people by name. There are too many people for that. The truth is that our journey is touched by everyone we cross paths with,” said Kekana.

Kekana has seemingly indicated that he will be involved in punditry work going forward.

“I know everyone will ask what is next. I am enjoying my work at SABC. And I am putting together my next set of dreams and seeing what opportunities arise,” he added.

Some will say that he underachieved in national team colours but Kekana was an essential part of Mosimane’s legendary eight year spell in charge of Sundowns. During that time, he helped the club win six league titles and captained them to success in the 2016 CAF Champions League.

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Kekana also developed a reputation for scoring fantastic long-range goals. In addition to his trophy achievements, Kekana also earned two nominations for the Fifa Puskas Award. The first was for a 65 yard screamer for Bafana Bafana against Cameroon in 2016 in a 2-2 draw. His second Puskas award nomination was for a goal against Cape Town City that was also voted as the 2019/20 PSL Goal of the Season.

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The 37-year-old was also respected for his longevity as he was able to continue starting and playing consistently in games well into his 30s. However, he eventually fell down the pecking order at Masandawana in the 2020/21 season which ultimately led to his release from the club in November 2021.

Kekana had initially indicated that he hoped to play on and was linked with a number of clubs but in the end, it appears that the right offer did not arrive.

@eshlinv

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