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Jomo Cosmos fails in final bid to avoid Championship re...

Sport

SOCCER

Fading Cosmos — former PSL club fails in final attempt to avoid Championship relegation 

Jomo Cosmos players celebrate a goal scored by Thabo Maphakisa of Jomo Cosmos during the GladAfrica Championship 2021/22 game between Cape Town Spurs and Jomo Cosmos at Athlone Stadium on 6 March 2022. (Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix)

Former top-flight club Jomo Cosmos will be playing in the third tier of South African football next season following a failed underhanded attempt to stay in the second-tier GladAfrica Championship.

No matter how far one might travel, they are almost certain to be confronted by a South African football controversy of some kind. The most recent dose of this continuous controversy involves one of the most iconic football clubs in SA football’s history — Jomo Cosmos.

The club, in its almost four-decade existence, has produced some of the most impactful football players to ever grace the Premier Soccer League (PSL) or don the Bafana Bafana jersey.

Ezenkosi’s list of products includes the legendary Pitso Mosimane, former Manchester City striker Benjani Mwaruwari, retired Bafana Bafana stars Aaron Mokoena and Mark Fish — plus one of the most lethal forwards to ever grace the PSL — Tico-Tico Bucuane of Mozambique. Amongst many others.

However, the player that has cemented the club’s plummet from its former glory is little-known Tshepo Mohlala — who represents GladAfrica Championship side Hungry Lions.

Jomo Cosmos — which is owned and coached by Orlando Pirates legend and former Bafana Bafana mentor – Jomo Sono, was this season relegated to the third-tier ABC Motsepe League. The club finished in the danger zone of the second-tier Championship.

Jomo Sono, head coach of Jomo Cosmos
Jomo Sono, head coach of Jomo Cosmos during the GladAfrica Championship 2021/22 game between Cape Town Spurs and Jomo Cosmos at Athlone Stadium on 6 March 2022. (Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix)

They wouldn’t plunge to the amateur ranks without a fight though. The club alleged that Hungry Lions — who finished 11th in the Championship — had used Mohlala illegally.

Cosmos claimed the player had been contracted to them before he joined Lions — and they had not provided him with the necessary transfer clearance to join another club. However, the accused said, to their knowledge he belongs to Kaizer Chiefs – where they had acquired 22-year-old’s services on loan for the 2021/22 season.

And so it was that the matter was tabled before the PSL disciplinary committee (DC) by the league’s prosecutor Zola Majavu, one week ago. If Lions were found guilty of illegally fielding Mohlala in the 10 matches he played, they might have been docked enough points to replace second-from-bottom Cosmos in plummeting to the third tier. 

The events did not play out like that though. Instead, on top of their relegation, Cosmos now have a stain of corruption following them. 

The club withdrew its appeal at the eleventh hour, as PSL prosecutor Majavu confirmed in an audio media statement. 

“Before the commencement of the hearing, Jomo Cosmos elected to withdraw its complaint in totality,” said Majavu.

“The matter then served before the PSL DC for confirmation of that withdrawal on record. I, on behalf of the league, accepted the withdrawal. Hungry Lions and Mr Mohlala did so too.”

“The DC then ordered as follows: one, that Jomo Cosmos forfeit the complaint fee — in the amount of R30,000. Two, that Jomo Cosmos pay Hungry Lions and Mr Mohlala an agreed monetary amount of R150,000 — in respect of their out-of-pocket expenses pertaining to this matter,” added Majavu. 

Ezenkosi have also been instructed to pay the total costs of the sitting. 

Though the PSL has moved to gag any other commentary on the matter, prior to the DC process playing out — the legal representative of Lions, Karabo Tshabuse, hinted that Cosmos had falsified documents in order to have their way.

“It must be said on record that we received it [their withdrawal notice] having presented them with evidence that the player was never registered for Jomo Cosmos for the time in question. And actually, what we had presented to them are the cards for the South African Football Association and the records that show, conclusively, that the player had always been a Kaizer Chiefs development player,” the Lions lawyer told SABC Sport.

“We also have evidence that shows that Jomo Cosmos fabricated the supposed playing cards that they used — in an attempt to prove the allegations — from a picture on Facebook, which was taken last year, when he was 21 years old.” 

Though Tshabuse called for a lengthy ban of the club, Majavu said the information which he had provided in his media update officially marked the conclusion of the matter.

“Beyond this, there will be no further commentary on the matter. I can further confirm that there will be no further legal challenges from this matter as it has been definitively resolved,” stated Majavu. DM

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