Ephraim Matsilele Sono OIS, sometimes referred to as Jomo Sono, is a former professional football player, club owner, and coach from South Africa. On July 17, 1955, Madoda Walletjies Mkulwana was born. In addition to his many aliases, he is also known as “Mjomana,” “Bra J,” and the “Black Prince of South African Soccer.”
Biography profile of Jomo Sono
Full name : Ephraim Matsilele Sono
Gender : Male
Age : 68 years old
Date of birth : 17 July 1955
Place of birth : Queenstown, South Africa
Nationality : South African
Occupation : Former football player and business man
Position : Midfielder
Early life of Jomo
Sono was born in Queenstown, South Africa. When he was just eight years old, his father, Eric Bhamuza Sono, who played midfield for the Orlando Pirates football team in the early 1960s, was killed in a car accident. Shortly after that, his mother abandoned him. As a result, Sono was left to care for his sickly grandparents who were also elderly. However, because of their terrible poverty, Sono was compelled to sell apples and peanuts at football stadiums and train stations in order to pay for his school fees, clothes, and food for his grandparents. His grandparents were both born in the Limpopo area of the Northern Transvaal, in the Valdezia settlement outside of Makhado.
When Sono was asked to step in for an unavailable regular player for the Orlando Pirates at a game he watched, his football career got off to an unexpected start. He immediately rose to fame for his all-around talent, dribbling skills, and deft passing skills. He was given the nickname Jomo during this time, which means “burning spear” and was given to him by a fan of the Orlando Pirates who believed Jomo Kenyatta, the president of Kenya at the time, had similar leadership abilities. After reaching his objectives with the Orlando Pirates, Sono relocated to the United States. He played for the New York Cosmos there in 1977, a year in which one of his teammates was the legendary footballer.
In 1978, he moved to the Colorado Caribous. Sono and Patrick “Ace” Ntsoelengoe, a fellow South African, played football for the Atlanta Chiefs, who took on a new identity after the season. To complete his time in North America, Sono played with the Toronto Blizzard for three summers (1980–1982).
Sono also spoke and performed at a Clemson University kids football camp. Sono briefly competed for Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and Juventus in Italy, but due to a lack of work authorization, he was unable to sign long-term contracts.
Career of Jomo Sono(Club owner and Coach)
After his football career in the USA came to an end, Sono moved back to South Africa. In 1982, he bought the Highlands Park club in Johannesburg and changed its name to Jomo Cosmos in honour of his old team. Under his ownership, the team won numerous championships, including the National Soccer League in 1987, the Bobsave Super Bowl in 1990, the Cola Cola Cup in 2002, and the Super Eight in 2003.
Sono has also assumed a leadership position in identifying and nurturing fresh football talent, particularly from rural areas. Philemon Masinga, Helman Mkhalele, Sizwe Motaung, and Mark Fish are a few of the players Sono recruited who later went on to play for the South African national team and European teams. Sono served as a technical assistant to South Africa’s head coach Clive Barker during the 1996 African Nations Cup, and his recruits did in fact make up the majority of the team that won the competition. In 1998, Sono replaced Clive Barker, who had been fired days before the African Nations Cup competition in Burkina Faso, as interim coach of the Bafana Bafana. The tournament was to be held in Burkina Faso.
Sono has also taken up a leading role in spotting and developing young football potential, especially in rural areas. Sono signed a number of players, including Mark Fish, Sizwe Motaung, Helman Mkhalele, Philemon Masinga, and Helman Mkhalele, who later played for European teams and the South African national team. In fact, Sono’s signings made up the majority of the team that won the 1996 African Nations Cup while he worked as Clive Barker’s technical assistant for South Africa. In 1998, Sono took over as the Bafana Bafana’s interim coach when Clive Barker was fired just days before the African Nations Cup match in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso was to host the competition.
The team was captained by Sono to the title match, where they lost to Egypt. It was considered a remarkable feat given the little amount of time he had to prepare with the squad. After the South African national team’s disappointing performance at the 2002 African Nations Cup in Mali, Sono was rehired as the team’s technical director. The team’s head coach at the time, Carlos Queiróz, quit because he felt threatened by this appointment. Sono was once more picked as the interim coach for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
The South African team scored five goals, had one win, one draw, and a 3-2 loss against pre-tournament favourites Spain, however they were unable to proceed past the first round of the World Cup. The South African captain, Lucas Radebe, credited Sono primarily for the team’s success, saying that Sono had instilled moral character in the group and kept a very positive atmosphere.
Sono, a member of the Premier Soccer League’s board of directors, has been a coach in the South African Premier League the longest. He has developed a reputation as a successful businessman, owning a number of businesses and holding leadership positions in a number of groups. He develops players and sells them to European clubs for a healthy profit. On October 22, 2009, it was revealed that he would be returning to the South African Football Association, and the next day, on October 23, 2009, he accepted the role of Technical Director.
Sono was ranked 49th on the 2004 list of the Top 100 Great South Africans.
Sono obtained two doctorates in December 2016 for his work in both football and business from the Universities of London and Dubai. He declared that getting the two doctorates was his greatest accomplishment. People claim that [the doctorates] are from outside, but I don’t believe that is the case. Because the Commonwealth University is one of the biggest and the University of London is one of the biggest, I believe it is from around the world.
He is married and has four children, including Matsilela Junior, his second son and a Jomo Cosmos player (born on June 22, 1992), as well as Bamuza Sono, a member of the South African national football team. The children born to Gail and Jomo Sono were beautiful and successful. Nyiko Sono, a former Cosmos Club marketing manager, is his child.