Bafana Bafana midfielder and Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club Captain, Hlompho Kekana was named Sport Star of the Year during the Limpopo Sport and Recreation Awards of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in Polokwane on Sunday.
The Zebediela born soccer star beat fellow provincial athletes, world champion in the
800 m for women Caster Semenya and wheelchair tennis champion Kgothatso Montjane, to the sought-after award. “I am humbled to have won the award in my province and I want to thank everyone who voted for me. I hope the accolade inspires young people in the province to continue working and not allow anything to stop them believing. Football was the only sport I knew. I dedicated myself to it and I am happy to be receiving this kind of accolade,” Kekana said.
Kekana started his soccer career at Tshiamo Sport Academy in the Mankweng area in 2002 playing alongside Phaladi Kobola of Cape Town City Football Club and Lehlogonolo Masalesa of Platinum Stars Football Club.
He was a member of the Klaas Mothapo Secondary School soccer team that represented South Africa at the u.16 World School Football Championships in China in 2003. He moved to Black Leopards Football Club in 2008 and left the Venda based Club for Super Sport United in 2010. He joined Mamelodi Sundowns from Bloemfontein Celtic in 2011 and was key to the club’s victory in the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt last October.
He also played a pivotal role when they defeated TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 to win the Caf Super Cup at Lucas Moripe Stadium in February.
His Bafana Bafana long range goal against Cameroon during the African Cup of Nations qualifier last year was shortlisted for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) Puskás Award.
Last year he was bestowed a special MEC’s Award at the Limpopo Sport and Recreation Awards.
He was recently named the Sports Personality of the Year at the Gauteng Sports Awards and boasts 22 caps and five goals for the South African senior men’s national team, Bafana Bafana.
During offseason Kekana donates school shoes and uniforms to underprivileged children in Zebediela. “I am from humble beginnings and I was raised by the community. Whenever I am back at home I do a lot of humanitarian work because I know and I have seen the need. I sometimes donate non-perishable foods at local orphanages and I am happy to make a difference in their lives,” Kekana said.
Story: Herbert Rachuene