KAMOHELO Mokotjo is not the fanciest nor the dirtiest of players in the middle of the park but his simplicity has ensured that he stands head and shoulders above his peers and teammates.
It was back in 2003 when Mokotjo stunned the world, captaining the South Africa Under-12 team to a successful outing in the Danone’s Nations Cup in France. That event was iconic and prestigious such that Mokotjo can be found in the gallery screenshots having snapped a picture alongside legendary former football Zinedine Zidane after their success in France.
From thereon, Mokotjo was expected to hit the ground running, either representing one of three big clubs in the local Premiership or making a seamless export to one of the top five leagues around the globe.
But it was only in 2009 that Mokotjo smelled the scent of his roses as he joined Eredivisie side FC Twente after showing signs of maturity during his stint at the SuperSport United academy under the watchful eye of Kwanele Kopo.
Granted Mokotjo had his time to become a household name in local football after spending a term in top-flight during the 2008/9 season but Kopo believes the Odendaalrus-born footballer wouldn’t have been the astute footballer that he is if it weren’t for his last stint in the Netherlands.
“Kamo has been unfortunate with injuries, especially during his stint in the championship with Brentford. But when he was at FC Twente in Holland, I mean, he played his best football. And that’s how he got his move from Holland to England,” Kopo explained.
Mokotjo may have finished the season in the second-tier division of English football. But the future is so promising that he may be walking the walk and talking the talk in top-flight come the commencement of football next season.
Brentford are third on the log standings with 82 points – a position that have ensured that they’ll be one of the four teams – alongside Fulham, Cardiff City and Swansea – that will battle for the last spot in the elite-league via the gruelling promotion play-offs next month.
But the fact that Mokotjo has even got this far in his career speaks volumes about his growth, according to Kopo, who says that the 29-year-old is one of the most disciplined players that he’s ever mentored during his illustrious career.
“He’s very intelligent, the signs were there from a young age. He’s not the one of the players that speaks a lot. He gets on with his job quietly. Tactically he’s also one of the best,” said Kopo who promoted Mokotjo to the third-tier division at the tender age of 15.
“He’s passing rate is very good. He reads the game very well. He can influence the game positively in attack. I know that in Holland and Brentford, he plays as holding midfielder but he’s not a tackler but he reads the game very well to intercept situations.”
Those feats could very well come in handy for Bafana Bafana especially if he gets to compete against the best in the English FA.
After all, in order for a player, and a nation to be the best, they have to compete against the best.