Hlompho Kekana and Sundowns officially ‘part ways’, opening doors for other clubs

Mamelodi Sundowns' ex-captain Hlompho Kekana has officially parted ways with the club. File photo
Mamelodi Sundowns' ex-captain Hlompho Kekana has officially parted ways with the club. File photo
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana’s playing career with the club is officially over, with the much-decorated ex-captain having bid farewell to his teammates at Chloorkop, the club have confirmed.

Sundowns have ended Kekana’s contract, which ran until the end of the current 2021-22 season, the club said on Thursday.

In doing so, the club have apparently freed the way for the 36-year-old to find a club to wind his playing career down at. But Sundowns also made it clear the door has been left open for Kekana to return to Chloorkop in the future for a coaching or other back room role.

Sundowns were reported to have offered ex-Bafana Bafana defensive midfield star Kekana an ambassadorial role, but it appears the player might prefer to play a few more years before considering an off-field duty.

“Mamelodi Sundowns and Hlompho Kekana have reached an amicable agreement to part ways. ‘KK’, as he is affectionately known, had a contract that was going to conclude at the end of the current (2021-22) season,” Sundowns said on their official website on Thursday afternoon.

“The Zebediela-born midfielder had a distinguished career over 10 years with Mamelodi Sundowns playing over 350 matches. At the beginning of the season, the player was honoured by the club with a long service award for his dedication and devotion to the club.

“The club legend is among the most decorated footballers in SA football history. Among his numerous honours at Sundowns, Kekana lifted six Premiership League titles, the 2016 Caf Champions League and the 2017 Caf Super League.

“Before joining Sundowns, Hlompho had two league titles to his name and this makes him one of the most decorated players in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

“He is also the only South African to be nominated for the Fifa Puskas Award [goal of the year] on two occasions, in 2016 and 2020.

“The long-serving former captain met with the players and technical team after training to bid them farewell.”

Sundowns chairman Tlhopie Motsepe was quoted as saying: “In almost all of his interviews, Hlompho always referred to himself as ‘a boy from the village’. He is proud of where he has come from and his journey as a boy from Zebediela to a man leading Mamelodi Sundowns to the Fifa Club World Cup in Osaka, Japan, is a story that I pray all future leaders in SA draw inspiration from.”

Sundowns left the door open for Kekana to return to the club when he hangs up his boots.

“As with other Sundowns legends, there is always the opportunity for Kekana to return to Mamelodi Sundowns in a different capacity when he decides to retire from active football,” the club said.

Sundowns’ coaching staff indicated in the off-season that Kekana, after playing 15 games for the club in all competitions in 2020-21, might not be part of their plans for the 2021-22 season.

Kekana, 36, celebrated 10 years since arriving at Chloorkop from Bloemfontein Celtic in late August, and represented the club with distinction.

He helped the Brazilians win six league titles, plus Champions League and Super League trophies.

Kekana, who represented Bafana at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2019, is one of the most decorated players in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) along with Brazilians goalkeeper Denis Onyango and ex-Orlando Pirates and SuperSport star Daine Klate.


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