Jomo Cosmos legends say they are having sleepless nights over the prospect of Ezenkosi sinking into the oblivion of the ABC Motsepe League. Cosmos are staring relegation from the GladAfrica Championship to the third tier of SA football in the face, with their fate no longer in their hands.
Cosmos are anchoring the National First Division after recording a mere three wins in 27 matches. Yesterday, they played a draw against TS Sporting at the Tsakane Stadium. Their last two games are against Platinum City Rovers and Pretoria Callies.
Cosmos can still survive if they win all their remaining matches and if Sporting and Callies lose all their games. Cosmos was one of the best clubs in the 1980s and 1990s and they produced some of the finest players in the country.
They won a number of trophies and challenged for major honours in the league. Club boss Jomo Sono is considered one of the best players Mzansi ever produced, and he was known for his prowess in scouting top talent.
Maimane Phiri cut his teeth at Cosmos and Sono paved the way for him to play in Turkey for Genclerbirligi, Vanspor and Samsunspor. He is worried about the dark cloud hanging over the club.
“All of us who played for the club are praying that Cosmos avoid the relegation axe. The club changed our lives and gave us a better future. Some of us even got the break to go play overseas because of Cosmos,” Phiri, who played for Bafana Bafana at the 1998 World Cup in France, opened up to Sunday World.
“I saw the league table, and Bra J [Sono] needs a miracle to survive. But he is someone who does not quit easily and will fight all the way.
“People are always criticising him, saying that he wants to do everything at the club and that he must quit being the coach. It’s because they do not understand him – he makes things for himself and does not rely on people.
“He is not one to sit in the boardrooms, he wants to be at the training or at the matches on weekends. The club has contributed so much to SA football and it would be a shame if it was relegated to the ABC Motsepe League.
He continued: “Not a lot of teams were able to return from that league, it’s very tough down there.”
Retired goalkeeper Avril Phali spent almost his entire career at Cosmos. “If Cosmos get relegated, it will affect a lot of PSL and first division teams who still get players from Cosmos,” said Phali.
“Orlando Pirates have Thabang Monare who was discovered by Cosmos. Sekhukhune United, TS Sporting and Marumo Gallants also have players from Cosmos. So, it will be a big loss for many people.
“But Jomo is used to surviving and I believe he will survive again. Maybe he has lost his passion for football a bit. He may need to go back to his old ways of scouting for excellent players and also to replace the players that he sells.
“The club has been like a pillar that holds the house together for many players who are from rural and faraway places because Jomo would come and discover them.
Phali added: “We just pray and hope that maybe if he survives, he will change certain things at the club. I am not sleeping well at night and wish the club the best.”
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