Jomo Sono stunningly claims his tactics‚ not Barker’s‚ won 96 Afcon semi

Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono.
Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

Jomo Sono has made the stunning claim that it was his tactics as technical director that won Bafana Bafana the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal‚ while head coach Clive Barker only selected the starting XI.

South Africa sensationally beat tournament favourites Ghana 3-0 at FNB Stadium on January 31‚ 1996‚ and went on to beat Tunisia 2-0 in the final on February 3.

Sono said‚ as technical director of the team‚ he had walked out of the camp after a 1-0 group stage defeat against Egypt.

He said he only returned on the condition that‚ while Barker would pick the starting XI‚ Sono would decide the tactics in the semifinal against Ghana.

In the national team in 1996‚ I will say it now openly‚ in front of them [the Bafana players present] … I was the technical director‚” Sono said.

“We lost to Egypt. I left the national team‚ I went home. I said‚ ‘I’m not a ball boy for anybody’.

“‘I’m a technical director. If I can’t contribute don’t call me’.

“‘If I can’t’ contribute against Egypt‚ don’t appoint me’. Because I don’t want to sit there and say‚ ‘Yes‚ yes‚ yes’.

“These guys [Bafana]‚ after they lost against Egypt‚ Mark Fish‚ Lucas Radebe‚ and Dr Ramethesele came to my house and said‚ ‘No‚ come and help’.

“When we played Ghana‚ me and the coach [Barker] had an understanding – ‘You call the team‚ I do the tactics’.

“And I want t you to know today – and the players are here.

“When I was doing the team talk the first person I attacked was Doctor Khumalo.

“I said‚ ‘Doctor Khumalo‚ if I was the coach I wouldn’t play you. But you can makes us win this trophy if you play the way I tell you to play’.

“There was a right-back‚ [Frank] Amankwah‚ who was giving all the countries problems going forward.

“I said to Doctor‚ ‘For you to got turn the corner in this Africa Cup of Nations‚ you go and play left wing. Every time Amakwah comes you stay there [forward]. And every ntime we get the ball you we will play it there’.

“I said‚ ‘Stay behind him‚ don’t chase him’. Amankwah went‚ and Doctor stayed. I said ‘Every time we get the ball play it to Doctor’. We got it‚ and Doctor scored. A second time‚ we played it to Doctor and we scored.

“And I said‚ ‘Mr [Mark] Williams‚ stay in the box’. Both of them were unbelievable. Because at that time I felt he [Doctor] needed a kick in the arse.

“They were brilliant. They did exactly what we asked them to do.”

Sono later coached Bafana to the final of the 1998 Nations Cup in Burkina Faso‚ losing 2-0 against Egypt.

He coached South Africa at the 2002 World Cup‚ where they exited in the first round but notched their first win at a finals‚ 1-0 against Slovenia.

- TMG Digital.

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