While he was functioning as the central and defensive midfielder for the Mamelodi Sundowns team, Hlompho Kekana was earning a monthly pay ranging between R300,000 and R500,000. His annual package according to trusted sources was R5.9 million. The football star, who was born in Zebediela, Limpopo region of South Africa, has since hanged his boot with the Brazilians as he bid the team a final goodbye on the 31st of August 2021 after a wonderful 10 years. Reports said it was the team’s decision to release the player after they failed to come to an agreement over the extension of his contract.
After his release, Hlompho Kekana only has good things to say about his former team. The soccer star has not stopped praising the management of the Mamelodi Sundowns. He took to his social media handle to let the whole world know about the memorable experiences he gathered through the course of his career with the team. In addition, he has been vocal with praises for his teammates, his coaches, and several others who contributed to the success of his 10 long years as the captain of the football club. The 36 years old defensive midfielder is now a free agent but speculations are that he might soon find himself on another team.
Hlompho Kekana’s Began His Career In 2002
Hlompho Kekana’s youth career commenced in 2002 when he became part of Zebediela Junior Swallows. Before the year ran out, the emerging soccer star got an invite from the Tshiamo Soccer Academy where he proceeded to spend a couple of years. However, his youth career did not just end with the two clubs as he also spent some time with Doasho High.
Leaving the youth clubs, the midfielder grew through the ranks to become one of South Africa’s most successful players with very impressive career stats. However, what is perceived as a successful and impressive career today didn’t start on a bed of roses; rather, it is a case of painstaking rise from nothing to something.
He Began Earning Huge Wages After His Youth Career
No doubt, Hlompho Kekana only started earning the big bucks after he left his youth club and ventured into professional football. His first team was Black Leopards Football Club. However, the exact amount he received as monthly and annual remuneration with the club never made it the public space. It was obviously a promise of a better package that saw his move to the City Pillar, a brief return to Black Leopards, Supersport United, and then Bloemfontein Celtic. Like his time with the Black Leopards, his paychecks with these teams were never made public.
When he pitched his tent with the Mamelodi Sundown (the Brazilians) in 2011, Kekana advanced in both fame and fortune, as details about his salary and net worth became a subject of public interest. An earlier report pegged his monthly pay at R150,000, but the midfielder obviously got some pay rise as he signed new contracts with the football club. Consequently, the latest report of his salary per month is said to be between the sum of R300,000 and R500,000.
A calculation of the soccer player’s annual salary revealed the total sum of R5.9 million. Needless to say, all his earnings have culminated into a tidy nest of R20 million as his net worth, placing Hlompho Kekana among the high-profile midfielders in all of South Africa. Again, we have to acknowledge the fact that the soccer player has never engaged in any known business, thus, it is safe to say that a hundred percent of his fortune came from football earnings.
- Black Leopards – N/A
- City Pillar – N/A
- Supersport United – N/A
- Bloemfontein Celtic – N/A
- Mamelodi Sundown (Brazilians) – Between R300,000 to R500,000
Highlight Of His Time With Various Football Teams
1. Black Leopards
Immediately after he left the youth level in 2004, the defensive midfielder who doubles as a central midfielder joined the Black Leopards as a professional football player. However, he did not record any appearance for the team during his first stint that lasted from 2004 to 2005. Hlompho Kekana had a brief stint at City Pillars before returning back to Black Leopards for the 2007-08 season. This time around, he recorded 37 appearances with no goals scored.
2. City Pillars
Kekana’s stint with City Pillars football club lasted from 2005 to 2007. During this time, he did not feature in any game, and neither did he record any goals for the team.
3. Supersport United
The soccer star’s appearances became more regular when he joined Supersport United Football Club. The 2008-09 season marked his debut campaign with the team and during this time, he recorded a total of 23 appearances, scoring a single goal. The ensuing season which spanned (2009-10) saw him feature in 21 matches with no goals scored.
4. Bloemfontein Celtic
Exiting from Supersport United, Hlompho Kekana joined Bloemfontein Celtic where he spent the 2010-11 season, making 29 appearances with a single goal.
5. Mamelodi Sundowns
Hlompho Kekana spent the longest part of his career with the Mamelodi Sundowns (aka The Brazilians) football club of South Africa. After inking a deal with the club in 2011, the midfielder settled in to record a decade of success in the field of play. During the 2011-12 season which marked his first with the Sundowns, Kekana showed up in 27 games, recording a couple of goals. He scored three goals in the 2012-13 season in 26 appearances, and for the 2013-14 season, the midfielder recorded another three goals in 28 appearances.
Coming into the 2014-15 season, Kekana featured in 31 games where he proceeded to score a total of two goals. His appearances began to increase with the advent of the 2015-16 season as the central midfielder showed up in all of 47 games, scoring eight goals along the way. He recorded six goals in the 2016-17 season in 40 appearances, five goals for the 2017-18 season in 38 matches, and for the 2018-19 season, Kekana played in 45 matches with four goals.
His goal portfolio increased in the 2019-20 season with five goals after playing in 44 matches. During the 2020-21 season which happened to be his last with the Mamelodi Sundowns, he didn’t do much and before the season wrapped up, Kekana succeeded in making just a couple of appearances, scoring no goals.
Since he joined the club in 2011, the central midfielder recorded a total of 356 appearances in 10 seasons, scoring 38 goals in the process. It is worthy of note that Hlompho emerged as the captain of the Sundowns in the course of his career with the team; a position he held till the end.
Kekana’s stay with the team can be best described as eventful as his impact was highly felt in several areas. The SA native was instrumental in his team bagging the CAF Champions League of 2016.
Hlompho Kekana’s Contract With Sundowns Was Reportedly Not Renewed As A Result Of Wages Demands
Towards the expiration of his last contract with the Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2020-21 season, reports ran rife that Hlompho Kekana refused to ink a new deal with the football club in the absence of a salary increase. A report from Thulani Thuswa, the footballer’s agent, confirmed that Kekana’s contract is very close to expiration. Thuswa, who refused to say much until a fresh agreement was reached, said they were in the middle of negotiations with the club for a new deal. After a decade with the midfielder, the Sundowns do want Kekana to stay on and the player genuinely wants to stay but wants something to be done about his pay rise.
As the team’s captain, it wouldn’t be bad if the midfielder is listed among their top five highest earners, but his name is nowhere near the list and for this, he refused to renew the contract. A close source revealed that the two parties were still in the process of negotiations and may likely come to an amicable agreement before long.
A New Deal Would Have Made Him One Of Sundown’s Oldest Players
If Hlompho Kekana had succeeded in inking a new deal with the team, it would mean staying with them till June 2024. Besides, given the fact that he already clocked 36, it would be considered a novel decision as PSL players who are above 30 years of age hardly ever get any long-term contract extensions. However, from what was perceivable, the Brazilians may be just ensuring they don’t lose one of the team’s most precious assets.
Winning two Telkom Knockout cups, four Absa Premiership championships, the CAF Champions League, one Nedbank Cup, and CAF Super Cup during his time with The Brazilians placed the midfielder among the players treasured by the club. Besides, when you factor in his performance at the FIFA Club World Cup of 2016, you will agree that Kekana is not the kind of player that can be dropped easily.
Had the new deal scaled through, it would have made the Zebediela-born player one of the PSL’s oldest active players during his last season which would fall in 2023/24. However, he stood the chance to emerge as the oldest if others like Moeneeb Josephs, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Jabu Maluleke, and a few others were to retire before then.
Hlompho Kekana Took The Decision To Leave the Sundowns As Both Parties Didn’t Agree
At the end of the Mamelodi Sundowns’ intense negotiations with Hlompho Kekana, the PSL team came to a decision that was promptly made public. According to ensuing reports, the former Bafana Bafana star was given a couple of choices. For one, he was asked to consider retiring from active play and become integrated into Sundown’s coaching structure. On the flip side, if he wished to continue as an active player, then, the club will be willing and ready to sanction a loan move.
From what is perceivable, the midfielder did not consider taking any of the options as the news of his imminent exit from the club soon hit the airwaves. Going by what the reports said, Kekana is no longer part of the Brazilian’s plans for the upcoming 2021-22 season, and his exit from the club happened on the 31st of August 2021.
The Midfielder Bid Farewell Through His Social Media Page
Bidding farewell to his colleagues at the Sundowns Football Club, the central midfielder revealed that he is leaving with a heart so heavy but with so many incredible memories. Having nothing but plenty of Kind words for his former club, Hlompho took to his social media page to express his heartfelt gratitude.
In his own words, the South African football star recalled how inking a deal with the club in 2011 was an opportunity too good to miss and 10 years with the Brazilians has taught him the exact meaning of the phrase: “the sky is the limit”. Comparing his recorded success with something he only dreamed of as a little boy playing football on the streets of Zebediela, the player recounted the beautiful memories, stories, and adventures he has lived alongside his teammates. The time spent waiting at the airports, the buses and airplanes, the opportunity to relate with people across Africa and beyond, and many more; Hlompho Kekana just couldn’t exhaust the list.
He also recounted the opportunity to captain the team which led him to develop his leadership skills, and the chance to actually see and experience what Mamelodi means to many people. Hlompho also remembered to mention the lessons he learned about soccer, business, and many more, including the coaches and teammates, beautiful souls, and a lot of many other great people who were on hand to teach those lessons as well as make the club run on oiled wheels
At the end of his post, he reiterated his gratitude for being part of the legacy of the Mamelodi Sundowns which he described as a wonderful club.
Hlompho Kekana’s International Career Was Equally Successful
Apart from his club career which has been quite successful, the South African also played internationally for his country – the Bafana Bafana. His international debut was made the same year he joined the Mamelodi Sundowns in 2011 and as of 2018, Hlompho Kekana made 24 appearances for his country, scoring five goals in the process. The football player scored against countries like Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Mauritania, and Cameroon.
One of his most memorable goals was against Cameron – a shot from 65 yards on the 26th of March 2016. This made him a nominee for the FIFA Puskás Award. In addition, that impressive performance earned him recognition among the best long-range shooters on a global scale.