By Eddie Chikamhi
South African football legend Jomo Sono says Denver Mukamba is a shame who has let his indiscipline destroy a talent that should have taken him places had he remained focussed on his career. Sono, who guided Bafana Bafana at their first World Cup appearance in France in 1998, was the last gaffer to coach Denver during his unsuccessful stint in South Africa where the midfielder lost his way.
“Denver was a shame. Denver had everything, but the lifestyle in South Africa killed him,” Sono told The Herald.
“Life is too fast there. There are too many beautiful women. I also don’t know if the liquor there is different to the liquor here, but what a player! What a player he is!
“You know, he had everything that guy, but his lifestyle was not good. I always say to the young players, even if you are going to sign with a big team, I still say go to school.
“The biggest employer of people in Saudi Arabia today are the plumbers.
“Everybody wants a plumber. Go there, play your soccer and be a plumber because it’s a shame that when some of these players stop playing they are finished.
“They don’t have anything, their world is over, it doesn’t matter how old they are. So they must mix the two.”
He said many footballers get sucked in the good life of being a professional soccer player.
“Life as a professional is good. You get free liquor from supporters, you get free rides from supporters. Everything is free,” said Sono.
“People greet you in the streets, but will they great you when everything is finished? No.
“The same people who are giving you free liquor when they see you will run away from you because you are finished.
“When you are finished you don’t have friends.”
But the midfielder has been struggling with disciplinary issues, which led to DeMbare loaning him out to rivals CAPS United this season.
Mukamba, however, is having the same problems with Makepekepe, who could be forced to terminate the deal after the midfielder went AWOL last month.
Sono was in Zimbabwe this week for the match between the Warriors Legends and the World Class Legends at the National Sports Stadium on Wednesday.
He was influential in helping former Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari eventually move to the English Premiership, while he also helped Kennedy Nagoli find a path to play for Pele’s iconic Brazilian side, Santos.
Sono is eyeing Warriors and Yadah Stars forward Leeroy Mavhunga.
He said Zimbabweans have proven themselves over the years and the talent demonstrated by players such as Khama Billiat and Kuda Mahachi has kept his interest in players from this country.
“I think the Zimbabwean players are doing well. Some of them are among the top 10 in South Africa, I think three or four Zimbabweans are up there,” said Sono
“You can see they won the COSAFA Cup and if you look at that game in the final (against Zambia) it was a very exciting game.
‘The Zimbabwe league is good, I follow it on television. I brought a number of players to South Africa in the past. You can mention people like Alois Bunjira, Kennedy Nagoli, Benjani Mwaruwari and they all did well.
“God gave me two eyes and I am using those eyes. So far I have managed. There is one or two which I have identified now, which if we go back to the Premier League, or even now (in Division One), we may try and sign them.
“But I can’t reveal their names because once everyone knows that Jomo wants this player, they all go there.”
Jomo Cosmos are currently playing in the National First Division of South Africa.
They could have sealed their place in the Premiership for the coming season, but they lost in the three-team playoff that was won by Black Leopards.