Kekana credits Xoki, Van Rooyen for gong

Defender of the year played key role in Downs conceding just 11 goals

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Grant Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Grant Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Mamelodi Sundowns centre-back Grant Kekana has paid homage to the two players he pipped to the DStv Premiership Defender of the Season award – Orlando Pirates Tapelo Xoki and Deano van Rooyen of Stellenbosch. 

Its a privilege and honour to win the DStv Premiership Defender of the Season award. I was nominated with two great players who had great seasons for their clubs. I am just honoured to be the one who won the award, Kekana said as he bagged the gong, which is accompanied by a R50,000 cheque.

The PSL awards were held virtually on Sunday.

Kekana, who played a pivotal role in Sundowns conceding only 11 goals from 30 league matches as they won what was their seventh league title on the trot, feels his award was a reward for the work they did collectively in a season where they were almost invincible in the league, losing only on the last day, 1-0 at home to Cape Town City.

Id like to thank the club.  Firstly, the coach (Rulani Mokwena, who also won the DStv Coach of the Season award), the entire technical team and my teammates. I think this award comes down to what the collective has done, Kekana said.

The 31-year-old Kekana also contributed to Sundowns managing an impressive 20 clean sheets from 30 DStv Premiership fixtures. Fifteen of those clean sheets were achieved by Ronwen Williams, who also won the prestigious Footballer of the Season and Goalkeeper of the Season awards, while Denis Onyango managed five. 

Kekana, who also had a splendid year with Bafana Bafana, helping them return with bronze from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ivory Coast early this year, scored three goals from 17 DStv Premiership matches.

Kekanas 17 league appearances in the 2023/24 campaign meant he and his partner in crime Mothobi Mvala jointly played more league games than any other centre-back at the club, enjoying the central defensive partnership with the likes of Mosa Lebusa, Devine Lunga and Brian Onyango among others as Sundowns wrapped up the title with six games to spare.


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