Hlompho Kekana unfazed by PSL awards snub

Despite leading Mamelodi Sundowns' celebrations at the PSL awards dinner on Tuesday, Hlompho Kekana (with trophy) still returned empty handed for the third year running.
Despite leading Mamelodi Sundowns' celebrations at the PSL awards dinner on Tuesday, Hlompho Kekana (with trophy) still returned empty handed for the third year running.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Two weeks ago they crossed paths on the field of play but now Mamelodi Sundowns skipper Hlompho Kekana has drawn inspiration from former Barcelona maestro Andreas Iniesta.

On Tuesday, Kekana was again overlooked for a PSL award. In his 12-year career, Kekana has won just one individual category - for Goal of the Season in 2014 - despite numerous nominations at the annual event.

This year, he was nominated for Footballer of the Season, Goal of the Season and Midfielder of the Season.

But Kekana has taken solace in the fact that some of the best footballers the world has seen have also been snubbed for top awards.

"I see the positive side of things because I am not the only one. Look at Iniesta," Kekana pointed out.

"How long has he been one of the best but he has never won the Ballon d'Or? These things happen in football," added the Limpopo-born star of Spain's Iniesta, who graced Soccer City with Barcelona in a friendly against Sundowns earlier this month.

Supporters and pundits were up in arms when the 33-year-old lost the R50000 gong to Siphelele Magubane of Golden Arrows for the goal of the season award.

The Sundowns captain's stunning long-range strike against Orlando Pirates was the favourite.

"I cannot fault the fans for feeling that way. They are the ones who follow the game, they are there at the stadium to watch every week so they should know football better than most. From my side I cannot be upset or disappointed like them [the fans] because I am a leader and it's not all just about me," he said.

"I must remain positive so that I can lead my team and cannot make things about myself. In football, opinions will always differ so that is the nature of the game."

Kekana was beaten to the midfielder of the year award by Siphesihle Ndlovu, while his teammate Percy Tau was named footballer of the year.

Even Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane seemed to feel Kekana's pain as he dedicated his coach of the season award to his captain.

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