Hlompho Kekana: We want to be remembered as the generation which brought trophies to Mamelodi Sundowns

The Masandawana captain has opened up about the club's recent triumph and how it ranks amongst his growing list of accolades

Mamelodi Sundowns star Hlompho Kekana has opened up about why winning the 2017/2018 was such a great achievement for the club and him personally.

Masandawana were recently crowned Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions for an eighth time in their history, but for the Sundowns captain, this title held added significance considering that it was his fifth league title on a personal front.  

Kekana is not only one of the lucky few to have lifted the prestigious crown on more than one occasion but he has arguably cemented his position as one of South African football’s most decorated footballers.

Nonetheless, Kekana who has won several cups including a Caf Champions League and and Caf Super Cup, in an exclusive interview with Goal, admits that this has been one of the most rewarding accolades due to the sheer workload that they had to deal with.

“I think this one is very special. I wouldn't say that every year when I win the league, I wouldn't say this one is very special compared to the rest of the trophies that I have won,” a jubilant Kekana told Goal.

“I should just say it is one of those special trophies that I can never compare because winning silverware is a special moment, because of the sacrifices. So, as a player I’m very happy with my achievements so far. I am always humbled by this feeling whenever we go on something, so it is one of the best moments of my life considering that I’m the person who’s going to lift the trophy (In the final game against Bloemfontein Celtic).

"I think this one was very difficult for us. I remember when I would compare it to the one of 2013. I think this one was very difficult because of the number of games that we played already, but look the league is so competitive now where you are never guaranteed to win a match,” he continued.

“So, we are now aware of the space we are in, because the team I think we have set the bar very high and now everybody wants to beat us. So, I think we should prepare well for next season because I see people coming to beat Mamelodi Sundowns,” he expressed.

But when questioned whether or not the feeling of winning the league could equate to the euphoria of winning Africa’s most lucrative prize, Kekana opted for the more diplomatic answer.

“You know this question comes again because my mom asked me this question to say okay you look happy but which one do you rate the best out of these trophies that you've got already, and I just sat there and I didn't know what to say because I always say that these are the best moments every time I answer that question. But I cannot compare this feeling of winning a league.

While one would be forgiven for thinking that Sundowns’ hunger would die down after winning so many trophies, Kekana is adamant that there is still so much more to play for.

“Obviously, there is a record to beat in our team, we just won the eighth PSL title so that’s a record on its own and we want to be remembered as the generation that has brought so many trophies at Mamelodi Sundowns,” he responded.

“So, we still want to strive to do better than the history we have already created for ourselves, and try to lift more trophies because we still have that opportunity to play for Mamelodi Sundowns. So, while we are still here let us try and enjoy football and at the same time you know raise that bar higher. So, we will want to try and make sure that we win more trophies that will make the team be remembered,” he continued.

On a personal front though, the 32-year-old is just as hungry for more success and it seems that there is no stopping the midfield general with a knack for the audacious, anytime soon.

“The hunger is always there because when I started playing football all I wanted to do was to win trophies. Winning trophies is what drives me, it’s what keeps me going and to play football and be happy is what I get out of my game,” he said.

“So, I love the game and I will always want to do well. I will always want to serve the people who support me every time so there’s always a moment that edges me to do better than I was yesterday because I always remember why I started playing football. So, those moments, those memories come back with time. I still have that hunger or desire to do more,” the Bafana Bafana international explained.

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Kekana is certainly not getting any younger and this has subsequently seen Mosimane opt to use him sparingly in the latter stages of the league campaign, but when quizzed whether the veteran sees himself ending off his career at Chloorkop, Kekana did not want to think that far ahead.

“I think at the moment I’m enjoying my football at Mamelodi Sundowns with the fact that we are winning trophies, so I cannot predict anything. All I know is that I am a Mamelodi Sundowns player and I’m enjoying my football, and I will want to use the time that I still have at Mamelodi Sundowns to enjoy this football I love so much,” he concluded.