Welcome to Cincinnati Kamohelo Mokotjo
Kamohelo Mokotjo is officially the newest signing for FC Cincinnati.
After spending the last three years with English Championship side Brentford, "Kamo" will be filling the international roster spot gained by trading Kekuta Manneh to New England and a spot on the defensive midfielder depth chart with Fatai Alashe off to Columbus.
A lot has been said of FC Cincinnati's locker room culture over the last three seasons, and Kamo might very well be the fix Njikamp has been looking for. Mokotjo was nicknamed "The General" during his time at Brentford for being a leader both on and off the field.
As for fitting into this team, there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic. While primarily a defensive midfielder, Mokotjo is known as a great passer. And as his nickname "The General" suggests, he can command the tempo of a game. If you were trying to find a comparable player already on the FC Cincinnati roster, you might compare him to Haris Medunjanin but much less of a defensive liability.
Now this signing does not change the midfield shape at all, both with the 4-3-3 and 3-5-2. But the departure of Manneh, a speedy winger and forward, might suggest coach Jaap Stam is sticking with his defensive formation from the MLS is Back tournament. A tournament they really should have found a different name for now that MLS is... back again.
A midfield three of Mokotjo, de Jong, and Cruz or maybe Mokotjo, Cruz, and Amaya is an above average MLS midfield. So long as the defense can keep its shape and multi million dollar strikers make their shots, this team will win games.
If there are drawbacks to this signing it's that Kamo is coming off a pretty rough achilles injury and that this is another player Njikamp signed with a direct connection to his time in the Netherlands. Injuries happen and Mokotjo does not have a long history of injuries. But it's the second part, the Dutch connection, that is becoming something to keep an eye on.
Every manager will want to bring in "their guys", and plenty of managers have players they've signed at multiple stops. You need only look at David Moyes's career to see a history of a former Everton manager signing former Everton players at every new job he's taken. But for Njikamp, there seems to be a lack of imagination. Or maybe he's working off of a world map from the twelfth century that doesn't include the rest of the world outside of Europe.
This is not a criticism of this signing or really any other signing. But at a time when the rest of MLS is finding talent in South America, Mexico, and even USL, it seems FC Cincinnati has blinders on. Is Cincinnati only capable of signing players with a connection to the Netherlands? And yes, this can be very successful if done correctly. But as a team that is playing in one of the wealthiest leagues in the world, having blinders on when looking for talent does run the potential of getting lapped by the rest of the league.
Njikamp, to his credit, has yet to make an out-and-out bad signing. And FC Cincinnati fans can only hope that success streak continues with Kamo.