‘We’ve been there, brother’ – Lesufi

Swallows FC president Panyaza Lesufi says he feels for Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono because they are “literally and figuratively in a similar situation”.

Lesufi, who is  also Gauteng MEC for education, faced a similar situation when the Dube Birds were relegated to the lowest league in SA football in 2016.

The once-mighty Cosmos were relegated to the third division ABC Motsepe League after only three wins in 28 matches. They dropped down from the PSL in the 2015-16 season, sending shock waves across the local football world and raising fears this could be the end for Sono, one of the country’s most respected football icons.

“We are in the same boat with Bra J (Sono) because we are facing relegation,” said Lesufi. “We were in a similar position when the team was relegated to the lowest league of SA soccer. I know what he is going through and I would like to extend our support to him and his club.

“It’s not easy to keep a club with legacy status but that is no longer commercially viable. You cannot just abandon that kind of a club. People don’t understand the sacrifices, the costs of using your own resources to fund it.”

After Swallows’ demise, Lesufi started a crowdfunding initiative to purchase the status of a club. Swallows eventually returned to the PSL.  During their heydays, Cosmos were known as the university of SA football and produced football stars such as  Sizwe Motaung, Katlego Mphela, Phil Masinga and Anthony Laffor. Sono coached Bafana Bafana at the 2002 Fifa World Cup in Korea/Japan.

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