PRETORIA – The curse of Teko Modise, the former Mamelodi Sundowns captain’s book written by Nikolaos Kirkinis, shows a man who craved approval with the same vigour that pushed him to be one of the best players in the country.
But South Africa almost didn’t see Modise’s talent. His father, Steven Sekgaila, wanted Modise to prioritise school ahead of football and failure to do that resulted in the young “Navigator” getting a beating.
Modise grew up supporting Kaizer Chiefs, just like his father. The two bonded over football, the book reveals, until Sekgaila kicked him out which saw Modise live on the streets before his mother took him in. Modise’s relationship with his father shaped how he interacted with authoritative father figures in his life - from his business manager Jazzman Mahlakgane to Pitso Mosimane, who gave him his big break in topflight football at SuperSport United.
The 34-year-old respects these figures and the roles they played in him becoming the household name he is today. He craved approval from them, doing everything he could to please them but when they put their feet down, raised their voice or didn’t see eye to eye with him, their relationships took a strain as it reminded him of his father who ruled his home like a dictator.
Modise, with his new team Cape Town City, is set for an emotional reunion with Mosimane in the Citizens’ clash with the Brazilians at Loftus Versfeld tonight.
This will be the first time Modise faces Mosimane since his book revealed that the two were not on speaking terms for two years at Sundowns.
“We never spoke,” Modise says in the book. “The only time we spoke was to greet each other. This is a person I saw every day of my life. You see your coach more than you see your kids, and we never had any kind of conversation. I could have a conversation with anyone in the team but him. There is a tension between Pitso and me that had been around for years and I will never fully understand it.”
Mosimane refused to be drawn into the saga.
“Let’s give Teko a break. He wrote a book. Let him sell the book,” Mosimane said. “Let’s not spoil his book. Let’s be nice He’s done well for the club. Let Teko be on the honeymoon with his book.”
Mosimane promised that he’ll shake Modise’s hand tonight. The book also revealed the respect Modise has for Mosimane and how he helped him grow as a player. The two are similar. They both had to defy the odds and naysayers to be the best in the country and the continent.
“Pitso is crazy,” Modise said in an interview with him in 2014 after he and Jingles finally won the league. “He is crazy about his job. He knows all the players in the PSL. His life is football. He wants everybody to work as hard as him. When you don’t, he gets pissed off.
The understanding between me and Pitso is fuelled by the passion we have for the game. He understands how passionate I am. He doesn’t have to tell me to train well, I always train well. He doesn’t have to tell me what he wants from me in a match, I automatically know what he wants. That’s why we click. That’s why when we have issues, everyone can see that these two have issues because of the passion. It’s nothing personal, it’s because of the passion we have for the game.”