Cape Town City’s signing of Teko Modise this week is nothing to be sniffed at.
If Benni McCarthy wants to play the football that he wants to bring to City, then Teko is his conductor.
At 34, many may probably have written the former Bafana Bafana playmaker off.
But the man they call the General showed last season that he still has the magic.
And from what the coach said in his presentation conference, the style of play he wants to imprint on his City squad, Teko is the natural choice to be the one who makes the team tick.
Benni wants to bring in a possession-based game and Teko is the perfect player for that.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns man loves keeping the ball moving and helping his team keep hold of it.
He’s the sort of man you want in the team – he is always available and he is always looking for the pass.
In a midfield already dominated by Mpho Matsi and Roland Putsche, Teko has the perfect foils for style.
Matsi and Putsche are more physical, while Teko will be the brains.
In this midfield, Benni has a couple of options.
One is to take advantage of Teko’s passing range and play him as a “quarterback” or what the Europeans call a “Regista”.
This deep-lying playmaker will find the attack by bypassing players upfront.
With this tactic he can play in a three-man midfield in games where Benni will try to use City’s traditional strength – the counterattack.
Benni mentioned this in his plan, knowing that Lebogang Manyama and Aubrey Ngoma were the two best raiders in the league last season.
Teko can find Ngoma out on the left wing with a swish of his right boot, while Manyama’s intelligent runs to the edge of the box is just the sort of balls Teko loves playing.
The pair scooped up five individual awards at the PSL end-of-season gala on Monday night because of the way they played off each other and that will be Benni’s plan B.
The signings of Lyle Lakay and Ayanda Patosi gives the coach the players he wants to play a more possession-based game.
With those manne being more comfortable on the ball, retaining possession will be key.
Even with City’s game becoming more “patient” with more manne on the ball and the possession being recycled in different parts of the pitch, Teko will still be crucial.
If you think about it, Lakay and Patosi will be teasing opposition and probing for openings.
But Teko will set the tempo in from the deeper position, picking up the ball like a scrumhalf in a rugby team
Benni will want him to set up every phase and be no more than three passes off the ball.
Plus his set-pieces and shot haven’t lost any potency in his mid-30s.