Former Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana has revealed why he rejected the country's two biggest football clubs, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The sharpshooting central midfielder caught the eye of Chiefs and their arch-rivals, Pirates, during his days with SuperSport United, where he won back to back Premier Soccer League titles between 2009 and 2010.
It was no surprise that the two Soweto giants were in a race to sign Kekana, who was the league’s hot property at the time and had also attracted interest from Bloemfontein Celtic.
However, the Zebediela-born player turned down the Soweto giants, and he decided to join Celtic ahead of the 2010/11 season.
“At the time, I made the decision based on the age. I know everyone wanted to play for the two teams, but I was still not mature enough to deal with the pressure that comes with playing for these two teams,” Kekana told GOAL.
“I’m a player that wants to win trophies, a player that wants to win matches. Both Chiefs and Pirates were doing very well at the time. I love seeing myself play matches. I’ve always been my own biggest fan.
"There’s nothing that I love than seeing myself play football. That is why I even go back to watch matches which I’d played, that’s the deep connection I have with football.”
The former Black Leopards and City Pillars star's decision to join Celtic amid interest from Chiefs and Pirates surprised many.
“When I wanted to leave SuperSport or when the situation was allowing me to do so and considering my form at that time everybody thought I’d join one of the Soweto giants and they were shocked to hear that I wanted to join Bloemfontein Celtic," he continued.
In the midst of the two Gauteng heavyweights chasing Kekana for his signature, he suffered an injury, resulting in him being out for a month and that also influenced his decision to move to the City of Roses.
"I just wanted to play football and I didn’t want to find myself competing with the best players in the league. I was 23 years old, and I still wanted to develop myself," he added.
“I felt I can’t go to a bigger team and fight for game time. There’s little room for errors in big teams and I still wanted to learn more about the game.”
Kekana, 36, is currently a free agent having parted ways with Sundowns in November last year, and he has been linked with Baroka FC and AmaZulu FC during the ongoing January transfer window.