Hlompho Kekana might have lifted his eighth league title, but the Mamelodi Sundowns captain will be worried about his numbers this season, which has been the worst in his career.
To imagine Sundowns winning a league title without Kekana playing a vital role, would be far-fetched, even for the biggest skeptic – but the 36-year-old has largely been a peripheral figure in the Sundowns side this campaign.
Testament to Kekana’s decline at Sundowns is the fact that the 2020/21 campaign is the first in which ‘Gonzales’ has made less than 30 appearances in a season - having featured just 15 times, eight of those being in the starting XI. Kekana has played a total of 629 minutes this campaign.
As someone known for his spectacular goals, even those have been amiss for the man from Zebediela, with just one strike to his name this season.
The likes of Rivaldo Coetzee, Andile Jali and Mothobi Mvala have overtaken the skipper in the pecking order under the club’s co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena and senior coach Steve Komphela.
Coetzee, with 2721 minutes, has been the key man for Sundowns in midfield, while Jali with 1976 minutes, and Mvala with 1261 minutes, have been excellent in providing support.
Of course, Kekana still has a long way to go on his Sundowns contract having penned a four-year deal with the club in March last year; however, his lack of game-time, even at his age will be a concern for the midfielder.
Having made over 300 appearances for the club he joined a decade ago, could Kekana’s time at Sundowns be coming to a close?