In South African football there are a few stories better than that of midfielder, Kamohelo Mokotjo.
Born in the Free State province, his journey as a footballer began years ago starting with joining Gauteng-based club SuperSport United’s youth academy in 2002, where he would start moulding his football skills as a young kid. He was only 11 at the time.
Mokotjo is one of a few surviving members of the famous SA u12 team that went on to make a big impression at the global stage when they won the u12 Danone Nations Cup.
He was the captain of that team as he went on to lift the cup in front of the great Zinedine Zidane.
That success with the junior national team was only the beginning of what was soon to be a great journey for the South African midfielder as he consistently continued to grow in the ranks of SuperSport and the national team as he played at the u17 level and was part of that talented u20 generation that went to the FIFA World Cup in 2009.
The U20 team consisted of players like Kermit Erasmus, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thulani Serero, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Darren Keet and many others, In fact, this generation was dubbed to be the next golden generation in South African football, but, sadly, many did not lived up to expectations.
One of the exceptions, however, has been Mokotjo.
After the 2009 U20 World Cup, he took the big leap abroad joining a club which was at the time affiliated to SuperSport United – Dutch outfit, Feyenoord.
Mokotjo struggled to find his feet at the club and went on loan to clubs like Excelsior and PEC Zwolle, where he began to establish himself as a solid central midfielder with a sleek passing game as he is famously known for in the modern day.
The midfielder eventually made the move to PEC Zwolle a permanent one after settling well and playing regularly there.
At Zwolle, Mokotjo had a good few seasons and eventually attracted Dutch former champions FC Twente whom he joined in 2014 and really became the player he was destined to be going on to be amongst the best midfielders in the Eredivisie for several seasons.
There, he earned the name ‘General’ because of how he commands and controls play in the midfield and because of his good leadership skills.
The midfielder’s dream of playing in England became a reality in 2016 when he joined Championship side, Brentford FC, who had an interest in him for years.
Also Mokotjo’s growth in the senior national team, Bafana Bafana, continues after he came back from a self-imposed exile when he had differences with the then coach Shakes Mashaba.
But after Mashaba’s sacking from Bafana, Mokotjo came back into the fold under Stuart Baxter where he helped his country qualify and participate in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where South Africa lost in the quarterfinals to Nigeria.
It’s safe to say that Mokotjo’s journey has been a pleasant one, though it’s had its downs.
At the age of 28, the midfielder’s beautiful story is surely not a closed one yet because now he is in his prime and will surely be dreaming of playing in the biggest stage, which is the English Premier League and compete with the best players in world football.
FARPost will certainly follow every moment of the journey and it will be interesting to see such a story end with an AFCON medal and a World Cup appearance, possibly in 2022, with the national team and a dream move to the Premier division in England.
By Prince Sobayeni