JOHANESBURG - Jomo Cosmos owner and coach, Jomo Sono, has slammed the format of the promotion play-offs, labelling it strenuous and a waste of time.
The play-offs are once again in the spotlight with Cosmos, Black Leopards and Platinum Stars competing for the last remaining spot in the Premier Division. Leopards sit at the top of the three-team mini league with four points from two games.
Cosmos has a point after playing to an entertaining 2-2 draw with Leopards, while Stars are yet to get off the mark. The play-offs will end on June 2, giving the successful team just over a month to prepare for life in top flight football.
“I won’t change my stance,” Sono said. “The play-offs are a waste of time. They are too strenuous for teams. Every year in the NFD there are court cases.
"If you remember when Polokwane were promoted, nobody knew what was going to happen (due to the court case that marred the play-offs). This time we also don’t know what’s going to happen (due to the ongoing court case by Ajax Cape Town).
“If there are teams that maybe aren’t supposed to go out of the league, and they end up in 14th position, let them play in the play-offs then with No 3 from the NFD. Let the play-offs be between the two (while No. 1 and No 2 are automatically promoted).
“Leopards finished second, they should have just gone up. There was no need for play-offs. But it all depends on the votes (from the board of governors). What can you do? But they aren’t right. I am not having a go at anybody. This is my opinion.”
Sono might not love the play-offs, but the play-offs love him. Cosmos have won every play-off campaign they have participated in, giving them an edge over Stars and Leopards, who have lost out on playing in the elite league in the last three play-offs they were involved in.
The Black Prince has been calculating in how he has managed his team for this showdown. He relinquished second place on the last day of the league to Leopards, because he didn’t want to be the first team to play, preferring to watch his rivals.
“We saw them play Leopards,” Sono said. “They are very difficult. They are very awkward. If they lose to us, things are as good as finished for them so it’s going to be another hard game. We have an advantage because we still have three games to play. Leopards have two games remaining.
“We will fight until the end because this team deserves to be in the Premier League. If we hadn’t lost the three players (Mxolisi Macuphu, Frederic Nsabiyumva and Linda Mntambo), we would definitely be up there.”