Time for Jomo Sono to retire?
Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
The question on many South African soccer followers' lips this week was: Will Ephraim Matsilela Sono now retire as a soccer coach?
To the uninitiated, this is the man known as Jomo.
The question was prompted by the sudden and unexpected news that Sir Alexander Chapman “Alex” Ferguson CBE is retiring at the end of this season.
You see, Sono has been telling everyone who would listen that he will only consider calling it quits once the “Gaffer” called it a day.
But knowing Mjomane - that’s one of his several monikers including “Troublemaker”, “Bra J”, Big J”, “Makhanda” and “Skobho” - he might already have a ready-made answer.
He will point out the fact that Sir Alex is retiring at the ripe age of 71. I can actually hear him say “I still have 14 years to go before I turn 71, you can ask me then to retire.”
That would be typical of Sono.
On a serious note though, he has done some damage to his credibility by hanging on to coaching for far too long.
Sono left Orlando Pirates in 1982 after a very colourful career that saw him lead the club to many trophies. Sono was one of those players who could single-handedly turn the tide and help the club snatch victory from defeat several times.
His escapades at the club can fill a book but this is not the subject of this column.
While he was a great player, he just cannot compare himself to Sir Alex.
Since being appointed Manchester United manager in November 1986, the highly-decorated Scotsman has brought 38 trophies to the hallowed walls of Old Trafford. These include 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
Since Sono bought Highlands Park in 1982 and renamed them Jomo Cosmos, the club has only managed the National Soccer League (the PSL’s predecessor) title (1987), the BobSave Super Bowl (1990), Coca-Cola Cup (2002) and the Super Eight (2003).
He has also enjoyed some measured success with SA National team - Bafana Bafana - such as finishing second at the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Burkina Faso and coming close to qualifying the team for the second round of the Soccer World Cup in 2002 Korea/Japan.
Since then, his club has endured mixed fortunes being relegated to the lower First Division several times.
Right now, the club is languishing on the 13th position in the 16-team NFD log.
It is indeed time Jomo considered quitting.
As it has been said in the past and this is a friendly advice to one of the greatest sons of South African football “Mr Jomo Sono, can you do the honourable and best thing for Jomo Cosmos, just FIRE the coach.”S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.
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