Kekana grateful for Africa's support
Posted: 2 December 2016 Time: 16:36
Bafana Bafana midfielder Hlompho Kekana has sent out a message of heartfelt thanks to supporters who voted for his goal for the 2016 FIFA Puskas Award.
Kekana was named on the top 10 shortlist for the coveted prize for his stunning long-range strike in an CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cameroon, which ended 2-2 in Limbe on March 26.
Despite falling short of the top three, the Mamelodi Sundowns captain has expressed his gratitude for the support he got from all corners of the world.
“I should thank all Africans for the support that I got, it was unbelievable to see not only Mamelodi Sundowns supporters but football fans in general voting for my goal. It was very special and emotional,” Kekana tells KickOff.com.
“People were letting me know [that they were voting for me] on Instagram and I could see all the tags [in their posts], and I was so excited to see the support that I received, it was unbelievable.”
Having grabbed the world’s attention with his initial nomination, Kekana feels he has reason to be proud of his achievement despite the fact that he hasn’t made it to the final three.
“As a player I should be very proud of myself,” he admits. “With the work that I’ve been putting in over the years, I would say this is the time where I really need to be proud and reap the rewards of just being nominated by FIFA.
“It’s something big in my career and it’s something I’ve never experienced before, but I have every reason to be very proud and to cherish this moment for the rest of my life.”
The goal will certainly leave opposition teams at the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup with something to ponder about in terms of his shooting ability, but the 31-year-old insists he will continue working hard to try to live up to the “expectations” he has created with that magnificent strike.
“I’ve obviously put myself in this kind of pressure, but it’s something I need to continue working on so I can live up to the expectations,” he adds. “It’s not going to be easy, but because of the love I have for the game I think it will carry me through [to score more spectacular goals]."