Can Sono do it again?

2014-04-27 10:00

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Similar to what happened in 1979 when he had to leave his wedding to save Orlando Pirates from losing, Jomo Sono will do it again today, writes Daniel Mothowagae

The legendary Jomo Sono will be bestowed with the Order of Ikhamanga in silver by President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria at lunchtime today.

The 58-year-old will then dash off to guide his club, Jomo Cosmos, in their quest for promotion in Tembisa, about 40km away. Cosmos host Sivutsa Stars at the Makhulong Stadium at 3pm in a bid for a spot in the promotional play-offs.

“It won’t be a problem because I would have my starting team in the evening, get my award and be at the stadium just in time for the game,” chuckled Sono, who left his wedding reception to help Pirates overturn a 2-0 deficit to beat Highlands Park 4-2 on his wedding day in 1979.

The national order will add to his array of accomplishments, but his ­beloved Cosmos have yet to match his level of acclaim.

Ezenkosi earned the yo-yo tag after being relegated from the Absa Premiership three times between 2008 and 2012.

But this season is by far better than the team’s 14th place finish in the lower tier last season, which saw them survive relegation by 10 points.

In fact, before last weekend, Sono’s men were very much in the race for automatic promotion, but their 2-1 ­defeat to Thanda Royal Zulu contributed to Chippa United being confirmed as the National First Division champions.

Sono said he was building a new era at Cosmos.

“It was not our intention to contest for promotion this season as we were just building a team for thefuture,” he said.

“We started from scratch this season, but this team – with an average age of 22 – has matured too quickly and we now stand a chance to make the play-offs,” said Sono, who guided Bafana Bafana to a runner-up spot at the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations.

For Cosmos to leapfrog from fifth place to third, they must beat Sivutsa and hope that fellow play-offcontenders Milano United lose to Black Leopards in Cape Town today, and that Baroka also don’t win their remaining matches. Baroka beat Blackburn 1-0 yesterday.

Sono’s men will then end off with 51 points if they win their two remaining matches – against Maluti FET College next Sunday and Leopards a week later – provided their competitors falter along the way.

As for his date with the president today, Sono said: “I am very humbled for being recognised for my contribution to football.”

Sono follows on from Kaizer Chiefs’ Kaizer ­Motaung, who was bestowed with the Order of Ikhamanga insilver last year.

Other sports stars who will receive national orders today are mid-distance runner Caster Semenya (bronze), swimmer Cameron van der Burgh (silver), Paralympian Fanie van der Merwe (silver) and wheelchair tennis ace Lucas Sithole (silver).

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