JOHANNESBURG – Despite their “underdog” tag in their Nedbank Cup’s last-32 clash against Baroka FC, Jomo Cosmos’ coach Ephraim “Jomo” Sono has vowed that his team will put up a fight when the two teams battle-out for a spot in the last-16 at Peter Mokaba Stadium today (7:30pm).
Sono’s belief that Baroka have a stranglehold over them follows after the latter dominated the Telkom Knockout. Baroka produced some giant-slaying performances by beating Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates in the lottery of penalty shoot-outs during the final.
“We’ll work hard to try and overcome Baroka but even in my mind, I tell myself that I don’t think we’ll do it,” Sono said. “But I am not going to take my take my players to a slaughterhouse and slaughter them without even trying. In the NFD we never appear on television, so it’s their chance to be live on TV.
"Don’t expect them to go there and line up, expect them to go and fight.”
Sono’s primary target is ensuring that they bag a top-three finish in the NFD - as they eye promotion back into top-flight football. Last season, they reached that spot, only to lose out to Black Leopards in the promotion/relegation play-offs.
So far, Ezenkosi’s chances of repeating that feat are rare - as they a team that was built in six months. Furthermore, they are 12th on the log standings - while they also trail leaders Stellenbosch FC by 12 points with 12 more games to go.
“It’s our second year in the NFD, because the other years we always take two years to go up,” Sono said.
“After we failed in the play-offs last season, we had to release the entire team as they were on PSL contracts. We started afresh, brought in players that would be on NFD contracts. We were hoping they would compete for the number one spot, but that’s out now - although we might still compete for the third spot.”
Despite their fall from grace, Cosmos still remains one of the forces to be reckoned with in the transfer of players to the big five.
This achievement is all thanks to Sono’s renowned eye to scout for talent, continentally and locally.
With that said, they might not fancy their chances in the country’s premier club knockout competition, but this could be another platform for the former Orlando Pirates’ marksman to rope in a talent or two especially after minnows pulled off upsets against the favourites this past weekend.
“Scouting is a gift from God - I didn’t go to school for it,” Sono said. “It’s either you have it or you don’t, and I am fortunate that God has gave me that talent. When I went to scout (the late Phil) Masinga, he was very skinny and he couldn’t run properly and when I said I want this young boy, people in Khuma said I was crazy. But I knew what I wanted.
And, the rest about Chippa is history.
In the 1996 Afcon, the country had 13 players from Cosmos. 15 years down the line, tell me which team in the PSL doesn’t have a player from Cosmos.”@Mihlalibaleka