Dream-maker or destroyer of hope?

2011-10-01 21:29

Jomo Sono is generally rated as one of the country’s all-time great soccer players, but recent accusations by some ex-Jomo Cosmos players reveal another side of him, writes <strong>Ntombi Moleme</strong>

Love him or loathe him, Jomo Sono remains a legend in South African football history.

He is regarded as one of the country’s most respected talent scouts, but some in local football circles see a two-faced person in the Jomo Cosmos owner.

Some of the players whom Sono recruited and nurtured went on to play for the South African national team and made their names at European clubs.

The long list includes Phil “Chippa” Masinga, Helman Mkhalele, the late Sizwe Motaung, Mark Fish, Aaron Mokoena, Benjamin “Benjani” Mwaruwari and MacBeth Sibaya – to name a few.

In a poignant homage, Mokoena even dedicated his SA Sport green jacket – an honour bestowed on him by sports minister Fikile Mbalula last month – to Sono.

But not all of his former proteges are singing the praises of the icon also known as the “Troublemaker”.

Last weekend City Press reported that one of Cosmos’ former players, Christian Anianguengue Ombola, had taken Sono to the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) for breach of contract.

Ombola, from Congo-Brazzaville, is claiming R1.4 million in compensation fees.

Another ex-player, Thulani Lubisi, recently accused Sono of assaulting him when the player demanded his salary.

However, Sono said he was not moved by negative comments.

The two incidents came on the back of previous cases when some players even fought Sono through their attorneys over matters that included the issuing of their clearances.

But Sono laughed off the “dream shatterer” tag.

“If I was a bad person, my former player Sibaya could not have set foot in our dressing room.”

Sono said the Moroka Swallows midfielder went into their dressing room to encourage the Enzenkosi players after their 2-0 loss to Swallows last weekend.

“If 1998 African Cup of Nations criticism did not break me, nothing will ever break me,” he retorted.

Sono added: “One can never make a decision that will satisfy everyone. And decisions have to be made.
 
If the decision is a bad one, we can learn from it to make a better one next time. But even a better decision won’t be without detractors.”

On “Sono the dream maker”, he said: “Scouting is a God-given talent and I gave a lot of players a break.

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