Injured Kekana roots for Bafana Bafana ahead of Zimbabwe clash

Mamelodi Sundowns defender Grant Kekana, who has been forced to withdraw from the 23-man Bafana Bafana squad at the last-minute due injury, has sent his best wishes for their upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday evening at 6pm. 

Kekana was forced to withdraw from the squad due to a hamstring injury he picked up during the Nedbank Cup final against Orlando Pirates last Saturday. He was replaced by Kaizer Chiefs defender Given Msimango in the national team. 

Speaking to Sunday World during an exclusive interview ahead of Bafana’s clash against Nigeria in Uyo on Friday night, Kekana expressed his disappointment of having to withdraw from the national team a day before going to camp. 

However, amid feeling dejected, the 31-year-old defender said he believed everyone in the team was more than capable of getting the job done. 

“It’s sad to not be a part of the national team in these crucial world cup qualifier matches but it’s beyond my control,” Kekana said. 

“Obviously because of what we started and the fact that we are on a good run, I wanted to continue with the team. But I understand that there are also players that are more than capable to do the job, and mine is to just support them. 

“So, I want to wish the team well and represent Bafana with pride because they are an amazing group of gentlemen,” Kekana said. 

Kekana was an integral part of the Sundowns team that broke long-standing Premier Soccer League records last season, including winning the premiership title seven times on the trot.  

They did, however, have some shortcomings in their almost perfect season, such as missing out on the MTN8, Carling Knockout, CAF Champions League, the unbeaten league -record, and the Nedbank Cup on their last game of the campaign. 

“The season that we are coming from was a good one for me. We obviously wanted to achieve more,” he said. “But the nice part about this season is that we were able to break a lot of records, create our own history and that is what we are going to continue doing,” Kekana said. 

On his nomination as the DStv Premiership Defender of the Season, Kekana gave props to his teammates and said he wouldn’t have done it without their contributions. 

“Being nominated as the Defender of the Season brings about a good feeling but it only just shows what the team has done, because if it wasn’t for the team then I don’t get nominated. 

“So, it’s just a testament of the teams’ hard work and I am just a representation of it,” Kekana added. 

Kekana will be among millions of South Africans who will be watching from the sidelines when Bafana host neighbours Zimbabwe in their next world cup qualifier match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. 

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