Hlompho Kekana will reach a landmark 200 starts for Mamelodi Sundowns tonight when the Brazilians host Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld.
Kekana has laboured on to his double century of starts since switching over from Bloemfontein Celtic in a transfer deadline move on August 31, 2011.
However, in reaching 200 starts the Bafana Bafana midfielder now joins a select group of players that includes Esrom Nyandoro, Surprise Moriri, Michael Manzini, Daniel Mudau, Isaac Shai, Themba Mnguni, Joel Masilela and the late pair of Joas ‘Hluphi’ Magolego and Sam Kambule to surpass this colossal mark for The Brazilians.
Though he is a holding midfielder Kekana has scored goals through all of the seven seasons that he has spent with Sundowns.
His total is 33 goals at present which means he averages a goal in every six matches that he starts.
The 32-year-old has made a further 20 appearances off the bench since he arrived at Chloorkop.
“I wasn’t even aware that I am reaching this milestone [of 200 starts],” he tells KickOff.com
“As a player I am just happy to be part of the team and play football. To be honest I never even count the number of games that I have played already in the PSL. All that I am excited about is the fact that I am fresh, healthy and fit to play the game. It is humbling for me looking where I am now and the achievements we have accomplished as a team. It always gives one joy and is humbling considering where I come from. It has been a good journey for me and I hope to continue enjoying my football.
“The love of the game is what has taken me this far. Every time I step on the field I make sure that I represent the people where I come from back in the villages where there are people who really look up to me and have this belief in my ability. I don’t want to let those people down and at the same time I don’t want to let myself down. It is a pressure game where I have to make sure that I am on top of the game,” says Kekana, who maintains that Chiefs will be favourites for tonight’s game.
“We are always underdogs when we play them,” he adds.
Kekana is one of a handful of players still playing in the PSL to get past 300 starts in the colours of a local topflight club, having also done duty for Black Leopards, SuperSport United and Celtic.
The class of over 300 starts includes Morgan Gould, Moeneeb Josephs, Vuyo Mere, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Daine Klate.