Hlompho Kekana is as famous for his big, booming boot as he is for his superb leadership, that has seen him lead Mamelodi Sundowns to three PSL titles in four years.
Just days before his 34th birthday, the midfielder has defied age in the recently-concluded season – playing a record 52 games.
His efforts have earned him three PSL awards nominations, where he will go head-to-head with Orlando Pirates’ Thembinkosi Lorch, who is the only player to score more nods.
Hlompho Kekana fact file
Born: 23 May 1985
Playing position: Central midfielder
Bafana caps: 24 (5 goals)
Missed out on the FIFA Puskas award
Hlompho Kekana has demonstrated that he is capable of scoring from pretty much anywhere on the field, and he showcased his ability on the international stage back in 2016 as he shot from inside Bafana territory during a game against Cameroon.
His goal earned him a nomination for the FIFA Puskas Award, but the prize went to Malaysian player Mohd Faiz Subri, who’s freakish free-kick was the deserved winner.
Holds an extraordinary goal-scoring record
Despite playing in the midfield, Kekana holds the South African record for most goals scored by a single player in a top-flight match.
This is for the seven goals he scored when Sundowns thumped little-known Powerlines FC in the Nedbank Cup back in 2012, registering a jaw-dropping 24-0 scoreline.
Was a journeyman before Sundowns
Before settling down with Sundowns, it seemed as if Kekana found it a bit hard to spend more than a couple of seasons at a club.
The midfielder made his top flight debut in the colours of Black Leopards, and has turned out for City Pillars in the first division, as well as Bloemfontein Celtic and Supersport United.
He joined the Brazilians in 2011 and has been there ever since, making his longest spell at any club.
The PSL’s most decorated player
Sundowns’ league triumph was his sixth, putting him level with another veteran midfielder in Daine Klate, who has just as many PSL winners medals.
Kekana first hoisted the coveted trophy in the colours of Supersport United, where he was teammates with Klate under coach Gavin Hunt.
Knows all about being snubbed for awards
Of the three awards he is nominated for, he is also up for the PSL Midfielder of the Season, his fourth nomination in that category in as many years.
Despite being recognised as one of the best in his position, he is yet to collect that particular prize.