The No10 shirt that never was

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AS FAR as legendary tales go, the No 10 jersey at Orlando Pirates will remain an enigma that few at the club, including club chair Irvin Khoza, fully understand. Back in 2010 when Teko Modise was still at Pirates and trying to engineer a move away from the club, the jersey was used as bait to have the star midfielder sign on with the club. What followed were claims that the club was talking to Jomo Sono, as the jersey had been “retired” in his honour.

Modise said while he wanted to leave the club as he was disillusioned by the fact that the club appeared to block any overseas move, the thought of wearing the jersey that Sono made famous was a good enough reason to stay. “There were so many excuses about the number 10 jersey at Pirates. Jazzman said they were talking to Jomo about it. But for me to get it, I had to sign a new contract. “Did I want to sign on with Pirates?

The answer is no. Did I want to wear the No 10 jersey at Pirates? Of course I did,” Modise said at a packed launch of his book, The Curse of Teko Modise, in Rosebank on Tuesday night. But Sono, who attended the launch, denied claims that he was consulted regarding the possibility of the jersey being brought back. According to the Pirates legend and Cosmos owner, Pirates used the jersey as bait for Modise to sign a new contract.

In what is a huge endorsement to Teko’s talent and star power, Sono said Modise deserved to wear the jersey. “I was never consulted about the jersey by anyone at Pirates. I think they were trying to catch Teko to sign the new contract. “But I think Teko deserved to wear the No 10 jersey at Pirates,” Sono said.

As history now records, the promised jersey never materialised and Modise ended up at Mamelodi Sundowns after Khoza, as revealed in the book, instructed Modise that he could sign for any team but not Pirates’ arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs. Modise also revealed that Chiefs’ Doctor Khumalo and Thabo Mooki were his biggest heroes at the time, and the move he wanted to make after Pirates was to Chiefs – and not to any other local club.

mmasekepem@newage. co.za

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