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Mngqithi – We Respect Hlompho

Manqoba Mngqithi has dismissed speculation that the Mamelodi Sundowns leadership do not like Hlompho Kekana, and says he is the captain of the club and they respect him.

Mngqithi was responding to a question about Kekana’s future at the club, and said he would prefer to not say too much.

But he did point out that Kekana is a legend at the club, and still the club captain, and it is why they made sure to show him that respect when the trophy was handed over last Saturday.

Mngqithi says that while Kekana did only play in 9 league games this season, focus should rather be on the good performance of those that did play ahead of him, as competition at Sundowns is tough.

Kekana has seen relatively little action this season, though he came off the bench in Sundowns’ last game, and lifted the trophy as captain.

“I would prefer not to comment too much about Hlompho because there’s been a lot of speculation that we don’t like him, and all sorts of things,” Mngqithi said when asked about Kekana’s future.

“But the truth of the matter is, he’s our captain, that is why we had to respect him even today, to make sure that as the captain of the club, he gets the respect that he requires.

“At this stage, we have not finalized as to what is going to happen to which player and what player but the truth of the matter is at this stage, Hlompho has got a contract with the club.

“And he’s still respected as one of the legends of the club. It is true that he did not play too many matches. And we must also look at those that played, what did they do for the club, because at times, we will dwell much on him not having played a lot of matches, and not focus on how good the ones that got to play maybe played.

“Because the truth of the matter is at Sundowns, it’s never easy for anyone. And I was telling the journalists the other day that there was a stage where Mosa Lebusa was not playing. And he had not done anything wrong in the club. He was just out because of suspension. And for him to get back into the team, it was very difficult. And at Sundowns, it’s very difficult to come in.

“And as a coach, I wouldn’t want to be in the positions of our players, because you’ve got two, three players competing for one position. And the first one at times he does not even get injured, let alone getting suspended. And he’s doing very well. What do we do? Do we change him because we want to make the next one to smile? We don’t do it like that. We using our objective minds and the analysis and the stats that are in front of us to make decisions that must influence the club to win matches. And the truth of the matter is, there are games where Hlompho came in, and he really played well. And because we wanted him to play, we gave him the following match afterwards.”