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Hlompho Kekana's latest wonder strike set to continue South Africa's run in Puskas awards

They say that lightning does not strike twice, but try telling that to Mamelodi Sundowns and South Africa international midfielder Hlompho Kekana, who is in line to continue his country's extraordinary run in the FIFA Puskas Award.

The 32-year-old has thrown his hat back in the ring for another shot at the prize that highlights the best goal scored in the world that year with the effort from his own half in Sundowns' 3-1 league victory over Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

It was a near carbon copy of the wonder strike he scored for Bafana Bafana against Cameroon in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in Limbe in March 2016.

Spotting Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands slightly off his line, Kekana drove the ball towards goal from five yards inside his own half.

The power on the ball and the swerve as it dipped towards goal meant Sandilands made a hash of his attempt to save the shot, but even so, it has to be in the running for the FIFA prize.

Deyna Castellanos scored a very similar goal for Venezuela at the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup this past year that ended up being voted as the third best goal of the year in the Puskas awards behind Olivier Giroud and another South African, goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

If Kekana's latest goal does make the list, it would extend South Africa's good run in the race for the award and could make them potentially the only country in the world to have representatives in the last three years.

Kekana was also in the running for his stunning strike against Cameroon in 2016, while Baroka FC gloveman Masuluke was second in the voting in 2017.

Only Argentina, with Lionel Messi and Alejandro Camargo, Spain with Mario Gaspar, Saúl Ñíguez and Jordi Mboula, and Venezuela with a pair of representatives from their women's Under-17 side, Daniuska Rodríguez and Castellanos, could match that feat.

South Africa has also enjoyed the most nominations among African nations with Katlego Mphela's magnificent free kick against Spain at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and Siphiwe Tshabalala's strike against Mexico in the opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup also winning nominations.

South Africa has received four nominations so far, with three for Ghana, and one each for Togo, Senegal and Cameroon.

Kekana could also join a select group of players to have been selected more than one time, with Messi and Neymar heading the list with five nominations each. Zlatan Ibrahimovic also has three.

He would be the only African to receive a double nomination since the award was first contested in 2009.

In typically modest fashion, Kekana has played down his latest wonder strike, saying the only importance it has to him was in helping Sundowns break a three-game winless run.

"The goals I score here in Orlando look good on video but for me it's good that we won the match," Kekana told reporters [as per Kick Off]. "It was one of those goals that you can't just score, you have to be crazy a little bit and try something special.

"However, I don't enjoy them because I score against people close to my heart. Remember the late Senzo [Meyiwa] was close to my heart. Wayne [Sandilands] is also close to my heart. He was a church pastor at Mamelodi Sundowns.

"So it's a difficult thing to do to score against Wayne but we have to do it."

It takes guts and perhaps a tiny bit of the right kind of arrogance to try your luck from that position, but Kekana has never been shy to have a go.

He also once scored seven goals in a single game as Sundowns overwhelmed Powerlines FC 24-0 in a South African FA Cup game in 2012.

He will be a part of South Africa's squad for the crucial World Cup qualifier double-header against Senegal later this month, where Bafana will no doubt take a goal from anywhere, his own half or the six-yard box.

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