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A Sad Day For SA Football!

Jomo Cosmos has been relegated to amateur football, the ABC Motsepe League, after being confirmed as not being able to finish above 15th place on the GladAfrica Championship log. While the club has been synonymous with relegation over the last few seasons, this is the lowest even by their own standards!  

After only managing three wins, 13 draws with 12 losses in 28 matches, Cosmos have amassed a paltry 22 points, six behind 15th-placed TS Sporting, with only two games to go. They’ve found the back of the net 23 times, conceding 33 times. They are mathematically relegated. It is really sad to see Cosmos going down. It is indeed a sad day for South African football! This is a team that has played such an important role in the development of football in this country and to see them going down, into oblivion, is heartbreaking!

Having said that, are we going to lie to ourselves, and everyone who cares to listen, and say we are surprised, we didn’t see it coming? Surely the signs were there! Surely the Black Prince, one of the best players to ever come out of this country – Jomo Sono – must have seen the red flags.

In fact, it is safe to say he saw and just decided to ignore the signs! It has been long coming and, sad as it is and bitter a pill it is to swallow, no one can really act surprised to see Cosmos where they are today. If Moroka Swallows, despite their rich history, could go down to the amateur ranks after a couple of ‘warning shots’ that were ignored, it was only a matter of time before “Bra J” and his charges got their turn. If you continue to do the same thing and expect different results, there’s a word they use to describe you. 

Cosmos is no stranger to relegation, having first been relegated in 1993 and spent just one season in the lower ranks, where they finished second and got promoted back to the elite league, known as the NSL back then. They then continued to be a force to be reckoned with, mostly finishing among the Top Eight teams in the league until their downward spiral started showing real form in 2007/08 when they eventually got relegated for the second time in the team’s history, after finished 16th on the log.

A season before that, Cosmos finished an impressive seventh and if anyone would have identified them as relegation candidates for the following season, they’d have been dismissed straight up. Bra J swallowed his pride and knuckled down in the then National First Division (NFD) and, like a true elite league team, bossed the division and went on to finish on top of the second tier and therefore win promotion back to the PSL, only to get relegated at the end of the 2009/10 season, again, after finishing 16th on the log.

The yo-yo phenomenon was in full swing as Cosmos went on to win PSL promotion after finishing top of the table in the NFD, only to go back to the same division at the end of the 2011/12 season after, once again, finishing 16th on the log. That was not the last time we saw Ezenkosi in the elite league as they won their place back in the PSL through the promotion/relegation play-offs, as they finished second in the NFD in 2014/15.

True to their form, Cosmos finished the 2015/16 campaign as the last team on the log standings, meaning another relegation, once again, to the lower ranks. They then became part of the furniture in the now GladAfrica Championship until their relegation to the ABC Motsepe League. 

The signs have always been there that one day Cosmos would get the chop even from the GladAfrica Championship. The last two seasons, where they finished 13th, should have been the much-needed wake-up call that things needed to change but, as usual, the Prince saw nothing wrong with his club and life continued as usual.

From being a part of the furniture, Cosmos had now become an ordinary team in the GladAfrica Championship! Such has been their downward spiral that they’d become a shadow of their former self. Unfortunately, they couldn’t go any further than 16th on the log. Believe it or not, at the rate things were going for them, if there were 20 teams in the league, Cosmos would have finished 20th this past season! 

Cosmos is not just any football team, this is an institution. This is one of the teams you can’t talk about South African football history and not mention. Very few teams have impacted the local game like Cosmos. This team has produced stars, and superstars at that, and this team has touched and changed so many lives. Top-quality talent that has gone on to represent this country at the international level and even went on to ply their trade abroad came from this team. That’s all thanks to Jomo Sono’s eye for talent because, among the many hats he wears, Bra J has always been able to spot talent where no one dared to even look.

There are a lot of lives that the Queenstown-born legend has impacted literally and figuratively so. The 66-year-old has done a lot for local football and Jomo Sono is a huge name not just in the football fraternity but across the board. Such is the impact this legend has had on society at large. 

His team being relegated to the ABC Motsepe League does blemish his impeccable reputation, but, knowing Jomo, he couldn’t be bothered any less! That said, the reality is that Jomo Cosmos has been relegated to obscurity, notwithstanding the rich history the club has. Unbelievable stuff!

Really, a sad day for South African football to see such an institution and an iconic figure sent into oblivion. This is a team that had the potential to become a massive institution in the country. This is one team that could have easily challenged both Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs for prominence in the country. Jomo had it all and he was supposed to be in the same league as Irvin Khoza and Kaizer Motaung, way before Patrice Motsepe even came into the picture.

Jomo Cosmos should have been one of the Big Three teams in the country at some stage, but, clearly, there are things they did that they shouldn’t have and there are things they should have done that they didn’t do. Jomo knows where they got it wrong and what needs to be done next, as regaining their place in the professional ranks is going to prove to be a monumental task because amateur football is like nothing they’ve experienced before. 

Jomo has been skating on thin ice for years, getting away with murder for so long, and it has finally caught up with him now. If you win a lousy three games in 28, then relegation shouldn’t come as a surprise. Sad as it is, Jomo Cosmos is an amateur team. The reality is that there will be no Cosmos in the professional ranks, at least, for the next season. Here’s hoping that we’ll see Ezenkosi back… when or how, only time will tell! 

 

Cheers, 

VeeJay 

 

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