History Beckons At Makhulong!
When our sixteen National First Division clubs start their season in earnest this weekend, one fixture in particular, the exciting clash between newly-promoted Highlands Park and former PSL giants, Jomo Cosmos, stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Why? Because just over thirty years ago, a young “Jomo” Sono, keen to create a new brand of his own, purchased the 1980 NPSL Champions, Dion Highlands Park for R100 000 before renaming it Dion Cosmos.
History will therefore be made at the Makhulong Stadium on Saturday afternoon when the Lions of the North face Ezenkosi for the very first time, although these two together outfits share a remarkable journey down memory lane.
“It’s somewhat ironic that we should be meeting the people who the club was originally sold to,” Larry Brookstone, one of Highland’s shareholders, told Soccer Laduma. “I think the clubs had four reincarnations with all the previous sales forced, but for the first time we’re ready to go the long haul. With the original Highlands, they refused to renew our lease at Balfour Park, while our new home was Jomo Cosmos’ Stadium so the whole thing is just ironic.”
The eldest son of “Jomo”, Bamuza Sono, who was born almost exactly three years before his father acquired the club, is also fully aware of the historical importance of this match.
“It’ll go down in the history books as the old Highlands playing the new Highlands,” he said. “This fixture was first down as Safa 2 vs Cosmos, it wasn’t the PSL’s planning, so I’d kind of call it fate. It’s a pity we don’t know much about them but our preparations have gone quite well so we’re ready for the game.”
Former goalkeeping great, Eugene Kleynhans, who played for both clubs, has praised Brookstone for restoring the club to the pro circuit.
“To know that Highlands Park’s back is a phenomenal blessing, a day to remember and a total God send” he said. “I can't thank Larry Brookstone enough for all he has done in restoring this treasured club. I pray too that the Highlands players of today treasure the privilege of playing for the club as much as we all did. I also look forward to seeing its name quickly restored back to the top of the league table, where we became so accustomed to finding it. Hard work, passion, discipline and pride were our motto and reason for making Highland’s name so special.”
Brookstone is trying to get a whole group of ex-players to attend this memorable match.