at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Jomo Cosmos must score seven goals in two matches without reply to have a chance of avoiding the drop to the National First Division (NFD). Talk about asking too much!
While Jomo Sono would like anyone listening to believe it is possible, records and statistics suggest Ezenkosi will be campaigning in the lower league next season.
Cosmos had won just two of their previous 28 matches before tonight’s clash with Black Leopards at Sinaba Stadium. Those victories were three months apart, Ezenkosi never winning successively. And now they have to do so, and by big margins too.
All season, Cosmos have not put the ball in the opposition net on more than two occasions – which is what they will have to do to at least finish in 15th spot as they cannot overtake 14th-placed Leopards who are on 25 points (Cosmos can only get a maximum 24 points).
How Bra J must wish he still had those super strikers he used to have! The likes of Christopher Katongo, who scored 15 goals in the first half of the season before heading to Denmark and returning to collect the top-scorer award, would come in handy.
Ditto for Essau Kanyenda, Benjani Mwaruwari, Chippa Nhleko and Russel Mwafulirwa – consummate goal-getters who made their names in the red-and-blue of Cosmos under the expert guidance of the man who always wears a cap to the touchline – before heading to Europe.
But the Cosmos coach is not in the business of winning trophies you see, that is a bonus. His is a trade in players, and no one in the country can compare. The man they used to call Troublemaker during his playing days has provided more players the opportunity at playing at the highest level than the agents who specialise in the job.
So while most of us so-called experts have spent most of the season calling on the first South African to lead the country at the World Cup finals to resign from his post and for the club to hire a capable coach, we have actually missed the mark.
And typically, Sono laughed it all off as we wrote his side’s obituary weekly almost since the halfway mark of the season.
Yet relegated or not, this would have been a “successful season” for Cosmos given that no less than two of their players will be sold to European clubs.
The same though cannot be said of their opponents Leopards, for whom Premiership survival is a must, owner David Thidiela having lamented that time in the obscurity of the NFD as being “bad not just for me but the whole Limpopo Province because we create jobs for our people when we’re in the Premiership”.
And it is for this reason that their coach, Sunday Chidzam-bwa, spoke of tonight’s match as a must-win.
“We have no choice but to win this match to make sure we stay in the league.”
A fascinating clash is in the offing.