On loan at City in their debut season in the PSL three years ago, Mokeke’s return to SuperSport United the following season proved unfruitful, and after a short stint at struggling Chippa United last year, he was snapped up by City in the current transfer window.
The 28-year-old, who is comfortable in either defence or midfield, has played the full 90 minutes of all three City games so far this month, with McCarthy thrilled with his contribution so far.
“Thato is an Ajax product, so he comes with everything: he knows how to pass, knows how to control the ball, how to be a professional,” McCarthy said. “I call him the ‘torre toreno’ in Spanish, a 4x4. He does everything: good on the land, good in the sea, on sand, in the mountains … you can adjust him, and he’s able to manage all that, so for me, he’s the 4x4 in our league.”
McCarthy feels it was a steal to recruit the player midway through the season, and feels fortunate to confidently field him wherever required.
“What a lucky strike for us to get a player in today’s age of that calibre, and get him available for next to nothing,” McCarthy said. “He can slot in at left-back, left centre-back or midfield, but I spoke to him and said I want to use him as much as possible in his best-possible position, as I want the best out of him. I don’t want to shift him too much, but if there’s an opportunity or there’s injury troubles in the team, he can easily slot in. I spoke to him and he told me he’s willing to play wherever I want to play him and give me 100%, so he might even slot in at centre-back.”
With regular midfield duo Thabo Nodada and Roland Putsche major doubts through injury, it seems likely Mokeke will start in midfield against his former club SuperSport in Saturday’s Nedbank Cup Last 32 clash at Cape Town Stadium.
Kick-off is at 20h15.