Former Sundowns Skipper and club legend Hlompho KekanaAuthor: Sijabulile NdlovuPhotos: Sundowns MediaFormer Mamelodi Sundowns captain, Hlompho Kekana, affectionately known as “KK” does not need an introduction. With eight trophies under his belt (six of which he won with Masandawana, and the other two with their hometown rivals, SuperSport United), the retired footballer is the most decorated captain in Premier Soccer League history. A patriotic footballer, Kekana also earned thirty caps for the national team, Bafana Bafana, where he served as a defensive midfielder until he retired from the beautiful game. Hailing from Zebediela in Limpopo, the former skipper joined Bafana Ba Style in 2011 and scored his first goal in a home game against Capetonian side, Santos FC.
The midfield maestro captained Masandawana during their monumental CAF Champions League triumph in 2016, as well as their CAF Super League victory the following year. KK further showcased his formidable sportsmanship when he earned his first FIFA Puskas Award nomination for an audacious Bafana Bafana goal against Cameroon, which he scored from his own half in the 2016 AFCON qualifiers.

Keeping the winning momentum going, Kekana was nominated for the prestigious award for the second time in 2019, following his Absa Premiership Goal of the Season accolade, which he earned for his masterly strike against Cape Town City. The retired 37-year-old hung up his soccer boots during the 2021/22 season after ten years of service for the Pretoria giants.
In conversation with Mamelodi Sundowns Magazine, Kekana expressed his gratitude for having been part of the Chloorkop side for a decade. “If life were a cassette tape, I would rewind my time with Mamelodi Sundowns over and over again. The most surreal part of it all was being chosen to be captain of the club. The trophies that we won showed our unity as a team. I am grateful to my teammates and everyone who contributed to making my tenure at the club as memorable as it was.”
Guard of Honour for Hlompho KekanaTo honour Kekana’s legacy, Mamelodi Sundowns hosted a heartwarming ceremony for him during half-time at their blockbuster game against Durban side, Amazulu FC. Under the theme "Celebr8 Hlompho", The Brazilians called on the Yellow Nation to come out in their numbers to celebrate the former skipper in grand fashion at Loftus Versfeld stadium.

During the heartening celebration, Kekana was awarded a "Goal of the Season" trophy by club chairman, Tlhopie Motsepe.
The Legend always smiling as he walks through his Guard of HonourThe endearing award was a token of appreciation to Kekana for the impactful role that he played at Bafana Ba Style. This was followed by Kekana’s red carpet walk which saw him surrounded by the Masandawana faithful and his former teammates in a guard of honour.
The former Skipper showing love to the fansAdditionally, an awe-inspiring video about KK's illustrious football career with The Brazilians was played during the ceremony. In the video, Kekana's former colleagues including football legend, Teko Modise, amongst others, shared their messages of love and gratitude towards the retired captain. Speaking about the former number eight, Modise stated that being captained by KK was a great honour.

Furthermore, the Masandawana faithful chanted "we love you Hlompho" during their exhilarating victory celebrations after defeating Usuthu.

"Firstly, I would like to thank the Motsepe family, the President, the Chairman, and the board of the club for this humble gesture. It will go down as the best thing that has happened in my career as a footballer. Being celebrated in that manner made me feel very special. I am grateful that my mom and my son got to witness that moment. I truly appreciate the fact that Masandawana showed up in their numbers. I particularly enjoyed the song that they sang for me. I am also happy that I was wearing nice sneakers during that beautiful moment,” stated a joyful Kekana.

KK is currently using his extensive football experience to fulfil his duties as an analyst for SABC Sport. He intends to learn more about coaching and live out his aspirations of assuming a leadership role at a big football club in Europe.
© Sydney Mahlangu - Backpage PixHlompho Kekana during the Absa Premiership match against Orlando PiratesHlompho has been pivotal to The Brazilians for such a long period that the doors continue to remain open for the former Captain to develop and make a difference in an ambassadorial role where he will certainly make the biggest impact at the club.