Book Review – The Curse of Teko Modise

The Curse of Teko Modise by Nikolaos Kirkinis (Jacana) ISBN 9781431425761

You don’t need to be a football fan to be thoroughly immersed in the story of Tiko Modise. I felt his angst, anguish, fear and joy while playing his beloved game. The author of the biography has captured the essence of Teko’s personality and his success as a football legend.

Tiko’s parents are separated, so he stays with his strict and unrelenting father until he is 8 years old and then he is kicked out onto the street. He tries to find his mother in vain, but eventually he does and she takes him in. He feels unwelcome and does not belong.

He finds solace in football, which he loves. He is a talented player. He is soon recognised. His idol is Doctor Khumalo. It is a mission to get to trials. His mother keeps moving and he has no money for train fare. He eventually plays for a team but nothing is plain sailing. It is the beginning of many ups and downs, but ultimately leads to him becoming a football legend.

Tiko always longs for his father and a family in which he belongs and can trust. He has pulled himself out of poverty and has a beautiful home and expensive cars, but it does not afford him inner security and peace. Benny MacCarthy calls him a true legend in the game of football.

This biography is often heart wrenching but also inspiring.

Dawn Blankfield