by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – A CAMPAIGN that started on a high and raised hopes of a return to the topflight is spectacularly degenerating into a crisis at Jomo Cosmos.
The most off-form side in the GladAfrica Championship, Cosmos are not only winless in six matches. They are still the only side in the entire South African professional setup not to win at home.
That is more than halfway into the current campaign.
Their latest horror show came this past weekend when they lost 3-1 at home to TS Sporting.
It is the second match in a row where Cosmos have shipped in three goals, having lost by the same number of goals without reply against fellow former Premiership side, Polokwane City.
The best Jomo Sono’s side has managed during a disastrous six matches (five league, one cup) is a dull, goalless home draw against JDR Stars.
Ezenkosi have gone off the rails since January 26. That is the last time they tasted victory (2-1) at Cape Town All Stars.
At one stage the joint leaders of the national first division, Sono’s men are now nearer to the relegation dogfight than to a title challenge.
They have slipped to eleventh in the 16-team table.
With 28 points, they sit eight points off the top of the table, a position occupied by Richards Bay.
Cosmos are seven points ahead of bottom-placed Bizana Pondo Chiefs, who despite their poor debut campaign were still good enough to beat Cosmos when the sides met in mid-February.
If the teams in the first division were to be placed on home form, Ezenkosi would be rock bottom, having managed five points from a possible 27. They have drawn five and lost four.
While results on the field depict a crisis, the technical team played down such talk.
“Well it’s football. We will bounce back,” Sono’s assistant, Brian Sebapole, said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
He said injuries had also contributed to the poor form in recent games and suspensions.
“We lost five key players -three in the first half- including the captain due to injuries during the Pondo Chiefs match. They have been out since. Only three came back on Sunday (against TS Sporting),” Sebapole explained.
Skipper Seun Ledwaba, Lehlohonolo Mtshali and Ricardo Versuur were injured in that first half against Chiefs at Tsakane Stadium.
In a bid to bounce back, Cosmos have to contend with a congested fixture list for the remainder of March.
This comprises three games in a week.
They are scheduled to play title-chasing Royal AM (away) and mid-table placed Polokwane City (home) and Uthongathi (away) between the 13th and 20th .
Cosmos lost to all three teams in the first round of fixtures.
Sebapole said despite the ongoing struggles, the team remained confident of turning its fortunes around.
“The mood is good. We remain focused on every game that comes. As you can see, the (title) race is tough,” he concluded.
Current form evokes memories of last season when the side flirted with relegation most of the campaign, eventually finishing 13th.
– CAJ News