“I am not the kind of person who will go out and bribe referees to move out of the NFD. I would never do that.”
THERE are two things that Jomo Sono misses the most about Premier Soccer League football with Jomo Cosmos in their fourth year in the National First Division.
Ezenkosi have been languishing in the GladAfrica Championship since they were relegated from the Absa Premiership in the 2015/16 season.
Last season they were almost relegated into the amateur ranks but fought hard in the end to retain their status. The situation hasn’t improved with Cosmos in 14th place after 20 matches.
For a brief moment, Sono will forget about his struggles in the First Division when Cosmos takes on Hungry Lions at Olen Park on Sunday in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup.
Cosmos will get to experience what they are missing from top-flight football due to their struggles to bounce back into the elite league.
“The long stay (in the first division) isn’t a healthy situation but at the same time you cannot force it,” Sono said.
“I am not the kind of person who will go out and bribe referees to move out of the NFD. I would never do that.
“As long I am in football, whether I am in the second division, third division or fourth division – as long as I am in football, scouting, getting players and grooming players, you’ll find me to be the happiest person. Yes, I miss the glamour of the PSL, but I don’t miss football because I am in football. I miss the glamour and the grant. You know the grant, the grant is better in the PSL vis-à-vis the grant here.
“I don’t miss football that much. I want to get out of there as soon as possible, but if it’s not happening, I won’t force it with the brown envelopes. I’ll stay there.”
A number of clubs have complained about the standard of officiating in the first division.
Unlike in the Premier Division, what happens in the lower ranks doesn’t get much publicity due to only a handful of their games being shown on TV.
“If you are in that league, sometimes, not all of them, you can smack a referee,” Sono said.
“And some of them you can see that they are doing it on purpose. They are on an agenda, they are working. Some of them. At one point in time, I even phoned the selectors and said, ‘Please, don’t bring this referee to me because he is after me’. Forty years in the game (and) no yellow card; have never been booked and I don’t squeal about referees. They rob me. They do rob, some of them. Some of them are very good and some of them just come out there to rob you.
“It was the first time I went to the referee’s changing room and I said, ‘you are bad, you are very bad’.
“The guy was just very bad. You could see shame that he was working, it’s January now. You know the schools, uniforms, the school fees.
“Some of us who have been in the game for too long know when this nonsense starts. It starts before December, that’s for holidays, and then January for school fees.”