Mark Gleeson

Sono needs to fire himself

2010-03-08 07:23
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Mark Gleeson

Jomo Sono is back down in the lower reaches, a third time he had been demoted and now has time to reflect on the future.

Sono’s brief return to the Premier Soccer League proved a flop, as he went straight back down with only the briefest of fights. Defeat by Moroka Swallows ended his hopes on Saturday.

Previously Sono had a great eye for talent and a veracious appetite for traveling the country looking at bright prospects. Many of the top names in the national side over the last 20 years had their formative years under Sono’s tutelage.

The Cosmos team of 2010 were a far cry from the combative sides the club used to field. But not only did they lack talent, but the tactical approach and preparation looked 20 years behind the needs of the modern game.

Sono needs to change his technical team - in other words fire himself. If Cosmos is ever to get back to the top flight, they need to modernise, find a coach who can properly plan and execute game plans and be able to properly go up against the big boys of the Premier Soccer League.

Sono was properly aware of this sometime ago but when he was relegated in 2008, he wanted to prove a point by winning promotion back up straight away.

Once that had been achieved, Sono wanted make another point back up in the PSL, but his ego did not see his own short-fallings and so back down to the National First Division he falls.

It is a pity, for the Black Prince is one of the great characters of the South African game. But he is from a different generation and the modern game is passing him by.

Cosmos were manifestly short of talent this season, Sono’s policy of selling his best players for profit catching him short when he needed a better squad to make sure Premier Soccer League survival.

Sono also got caught out by younger and smarter coaches. He was a sitting duck almost from the start.

Should Cosmos bounce back, Sono needs to forget about his coaching legacy. He might have been in charge of more top flight games than any other coach in South African professional soccer history, but he has but a few cup winners’ medals to show for his endeavours. He is in the pantheon of great players but, I’m afraid, not great coaches.

He will need to let someone else take over and reshape the playing side of the club while he sticks to his strengths – identifying talent, nurturing it and bringing it to the top. Hell, Bafana Bafana could use a few more of the players that Sono found at the height of his powers and who proved so effective for the national team in the past.

But if Cosmos are ever to be a top team again, Sono needs to sit in the chairman’s box and let a new man handle his team.

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