Goal South Africa Player of the Year nominee: Kamohelo Mokotjo

He may have been thought to be 'sluggish' by current Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba, but Mokotjo is certainly one of the rising stars in the Eredivisie

Kamohelo Mokotjo may still be unknown to many South Africans, but he is already a household name in Europe, where he has been plying his trade over the past five years.

He came through the youth ranks of SuperSport United in the 2008/09 season, and after a season in the Premier Soccer League, Mokotjo signed with Dutch club Feyenoord in a move that took many by surprise.

Despite struggling to make his mark in his first few years in the Netherlands, Mokotjo did not think of returning home, like the majority of his fellow South Africans have in recent seasons. He has never been a quitter!

Mokotjo showed maturity in his game at a very young age, and it became evident when he led the South African national under-12 team to the Danone Nations Cup triumph in 2003 in Paris, France.

"We did not know what to expect last season and my teammates were scared since it was their first time playing at the highest level, but we learned from those mistakes and worked hard to win the competition this time around," said Mokotjo, who was only 12-years-old at the time.

This was probably the making of Mokotjo, who went on to become one of the most versatile midfielders SA has ever produced, as he is able to play both in deep and attacking roles with ease.

He is not one of the fastest players on the pitch, but he's got "football brains" to know when to drift back and assist in defense and when to push forward to create and score goals without leaving holes behind him.

Quite surprisingly, Mokotjo only blossomed in the 2013/14 season while still at PEC Zwolle where he used the first half of the season to quickly learn how his team played, before stepping up to the plate at the beginning of 2014.

He may have not played for Bafana during this period, but the Odendaalsrus-born player outshone Thulani Serero on so many occasions when the two players met, whether in league or Cup competitions.



The biggest success of Mokotjo's time with Zwolle was when they thrashed Serero's Ajax 5-1 in the Dutch Cup final in April this year, and this was followed by reports that he was wanted by the current Eredivisie champions, Ajax.

The victory booked Zwolle's place in this season's Uefa Europa League, their first ever since the club's inception back in 1910 where they eventually lost 4-2 on aggregate to Sparta Prague.

Mokotjo went on to lift another trophy with Zwolle in August, again beating Serero to the Dutch Super Cup title before making a reported €1.5 million move to FC Twente, where he has become one of their star players.

He was called to represent the South African senior national team in September by coach Shakes Mashaba, who was then not convinced with Mokotjo's fitness, saying the 23-year-old midfielder "showed some signs of sluggishness" while in camp.

However, those words didn't demoralize Mokotjo who went back and played every single minute of Twente's games since then. His side is placed fourth, and they are six points behind second-placed Ajax.

At 23, Mokotjo is enjoying his best football, and it could only be a matter of time before he moves to a bigger European league, like the likes of Steven Pienaar and Benni McCarthy who started their careers in the Eredivisie.

It is for these reasons that Mokotjo fully deserves his nomination for the Goal South Africa Player of the Year award 2014.

Vote for Mokotjo, or any of the other four nominees here. This poll determines the winner, and will close on December 5, Friday night.