JOHANNESBURG – As the threat of relegation from the National First Division looms over Jomo Cosmos, there are fears that one of the country’s oldest football clubs could disappear altogether from South Africa’s sports landscape.
Jomo Cosmos is one the country’s historically significant football clubs. Surpassed only by the big three, its 39 years of continuous existence, has seen household names like Mark Fish, Aaron Mokoena and MacBeth Sibaya, nurtured by the club and its owner Jomo Sono as up-and-coming players.
TTM coach Lucky Nelukau, whose team sealed Cosmos’ fate at the weekend, felt downcast at the end of the game despite being on the winning team.
“Relegating Cosmos was not one of our wishes, but it’s one of those… There’s nothing we can do. We wish them a speedy comeback.”
Cosmos has won three games this season and needs to win all three of their remaining games and hope other results go their way to avoid relegation to the ABC Motsepe League. The country’s lower leagues are renowned for being tough for ex-Premiership clubs to play in. In the 2002 Premiership champions, Santos have struggled to bounce back after five years in the second division, whilst Moroka Swallows were dissolved after a few seasons in the wilderness.
Former Bafana Bafana defender, Morgan Gould, began his career at Cosmos and underlined Sono and the club’s importance to society at large.
“It’s never nice seeing someone who gave us our bread and butter to go through that. Don’t look at it only in terms of football, look in terms of social cohesion. This man has been a contributing factor to a lot of footballers in the country and others in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Mozambique.”
Gould hopes his former team will reclaim their former status and urged Sono and others to soldier on but acknowledged it would be easier said than done.