Pitso Mosimane rose a few eyebrows when he revealed on Monday that he had not seem Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana since Masandawana claimed a record ninth league crown in Free State on May 11.
Kekana has been with the national team that reached the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations and was given two weeks to recover before joining the rest of his teammates in preparation for the new season.
Kekana spent most of his time off in his hometown of Zebediela where he got to enjoy cultural customs that he has missed in the last five years.
“I was given two weeks off and I was in the village and I tried to recharge the batteries. This was my first two weeks in five years since we started playing in the Caf Champions League. More than anything, I really needed this break and I fell fresh now. I feel like a 25-years-old and I am ready to go,” he said.
“In my culture there is this thing called initiation school, you have to go there and sit around men, so I missed that. I went there and they reminded me of the person that I really am,” Kekana added.
“Gonzalez”, as he is affectionately known, said Downs were “lucky” to win the Absa Premiership title last season, insisting that they were a half-baked team. Kekana believes that this season they will be a lot sharper and could try out new methods to out to claim the La Decima (10th league title).
“It is something that we are not used to it, to rest in between the seasons and I think it would be interesting this year to see how we can tackle this program since we have rested. More than anything, we just want to try and better our season from last season. We were not as fresh as we were supposed to.”
While Downs will be vying for a 10th championship and a third one on the trot, Kekana is chasing a seventh league gold medal.
“It would be a special feeling for me, I am just happy to be the captain of that team that always tries to do well in all of the matches and a team that tries to represent the country. I think as players of Mamelodi Sundowns we know the responsibility that we are carrying and it is not about us anymore. We know how high we have set the bar in the past five years,” Kekana said.
He adds: “We won the Champions League and everywhere we go they talk about Sundowns. It would be nice to win this 10th league title because we I want to be remembered as one of the players from the generation that brought a lot of trophies for the club. It would be nice to win the seventh one personally, I would love to win it.”