Ahead of a massive PSL clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City tonight, we look back to the 2013-14 season where Teko Modise’s outstanding form took Downs to the league title.
He will be a pivotal figure for Cape Town City in the injury absence of Roland Putsche and Thabo Nodada. Can he hit the same sort of form to take Benni McCarthy’s side to an unlikely league title win?
Let’s rewind to May 2014. Mamelodi Sundowns are taking to the field against Tshwane rivals SuperSport United, knowing that a win would make them champions. In midfield for Masandawana was 32-year-old Teko Modise, a man who had never won a league title despite a fantastic career up to that point. This had led some fans to label Modise as “cursed”.
That night though, with Chiefs winning their game, Sundowns had no choice but to take all three points. With the game at 1-0 to Downs in the 62nd minute, Modise spotted Ronwen Williams off his line after the goalkeeper had come out to make an intervention. Modise chipped the ball sublimely into the far corner from 35 yards to make it 2-0 and take his side to the verge of a league title. That match ended 3-0 and the curse was finally broken. Speaking in a post on his official website, Modise described the feeling:
“To be honest I have won a lot of awards and crossed a lot of milestones but lifting the PSL trophy was an overwhelming experience. I could not believe it and it was very emotional”.
Modise had ended the season as a hero and a player of the season nominee, though Bidvest Wits’ Sibusiso Vilakazi took home the award. However, that does not tell the full story of a tumultuous season for the player.
Modise started the first four PSL games of the season, scoring once and assisting once from a deeper role alongside Hlompho Kekana. After that, he had a very tough period in the season. In the next seven games in all competitions, Modise played just 36 minutes. He was left out of the squad completely for four of those games. Mosimane had decided to move Bongani Zungu into a deeper role to free up a spot for an extra attacking player, whilst giving better protection to the back four.
He was back in the picture for the next four games but found himself used on the right flank or from the bench. Both veteran, Esrom Nyandoro and Jabulani Shongwe were ahead of Modise for a deeper role. However, Modise’s season completely changed when Shongwe – who was impressing and establishing himself in the side – decided to sign a pre-contract with Wits.
Sundowns’ form was far from convincing and with just nine league games to go, they were nine points behind Kaizer Chiefs. They were in desperate need of inspiration. Khama Billiat was out injured. Step forward, Teko Modise!
Downs put together an incredible 10 game-winning run in the league from 9 March until 6 May. Modise played in nine of those games, missing just one through suspension. His form was truly sublime. He netted the match-winning goal in three of the games in that period against Polokwane City (1-0 win), Kaizer Chiefs (1-0 win) and Moroka Swallows (1-0 win). He scored five goals in total during his nine appearances and added one assist.
Modise’s displays were incredibly influential in other ways too – he made 3.11 tackles and delivered 10.89 passes into the penalty area on average per game during those two golden months too.
Speaking in his post-match press conference on Saturday, Cape Town City coach, Benni McCarthy hailed the importance of his 36-year-old midfield who is nicknamed “General”:
"Teko‚ you have to manage him because at the moment he is one of the best players we have and if we lose him‚ on top of Nodada and Putsche‚ then I need to go there to Jerusalem to pray for serious help! I don't see how we would survive without Teko for where we want to be as a team."
Tonight, Modise will have to step up for his side to have a real chance of beating Sundowns and making an unlikely charge for the league title. He has done it before – why not again?