sono is defiant

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

It seems nothing will kill Jomo Sono's passion for football, even after his side Jomo Cosmos were relegated to the National First Division.

Sono has been in this situation before, when his club was relegated to the lower division in 1995, but he managed to pull out all stops to steer his team back to the elite league after a season.

Now the outspoken Sono said though it was going to be tough in the First Division they were determined to make a strong comeback to the Premiership.

"Soccer is my passion and it has been there since I was 15 years old, once the passion disappears then I will quit," he said.

"But at this juncture I'm going to carry on unearthing untapped talent from the townships."

Sono, who was not perturbed when most, if not all, of his players who once said they would stand by him deserted him, said he knew that they would leave but pointed out that they have served the team loyally and that he had no qualms about their departure.

"It's natural that they want to be seen in action on the big stage, so it's up to me to start afresh by acquiring youngsters and soldiering on. The same thing happened last time around and players moved on.

"It's not going to be easy down there because I will be meeting the unknowns and very strong teams who are fighting for promotion. But the first season we'll be consolidating our position and the year that follows we'll compete for promotion.

"I firmly believe that the relegation was a blessing in disguise and it's a new challenge for me because I was just going through the motions in the elite league. It is a wake-up call for me that will give me an opportunity to recharge my batteries."

He said there were lots of changes at the club and that he will be signing a number of players to fortify the squad.

His son Matsilela junior, whom he said was also a good rugby player, is also in his side. The youngster was recently called up for the national Under-17 squad but could not make it due to injury.

"I'm going to work on the youngsters who are the future of South African football," Sono said.

The Ezenkosi mentor pointed out that he had secured Rand Stadium as their home ground.

He said they were offered the stadium by Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo, MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation Barbara Creecy, Ivor Hoff, the chief director in that department, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa and Philisiwe Twala-Tau, a member of the mayoral committee

"We've agreed in principle and what is left is for us to tie up loose ends. It has been my dream for my team to own a stadium and I believe that is the right direction to take.

"We're going to market the club around the stadium and the academy is also doing well because most of the youngsters are staying there.

"I thank everybody who was behind me when I acquired the Rand Stadium as a home and I hope to do my best to make it work," he said.