Ezenkosi host Santos as NFD hits half-way mark

Lifa Hlongwane of Jomo Cosmos during the National First Division 2016/17 match between Thanda Royal Zulu and Jomo Cosmos at Umhlathuze Sports Complex, Richards Bay South Africa on 27 Nomvember 2016 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Cosmos striker, Lifa Hlongwane

The National First Division (NFD) contest reaches half way mark this weekend as 9th placed Jomo Cosmos welcome 2nd to bottom Santos to Olen Park Stadium.

Ezenkosi will be hoping to go into the Christmas break on a high by beating the Peoples Team in this first encounter between the sides this season.

It’s also the first game in charge for Cosmos boss and Doctorate Awards recipient, Dr. E.M. ‘Jomo’ Sono, following his historic feat in Dubai last Thursday.

Interestingly too, Namibian international wing back, Ananias “Junior” Gebhardt looks set to play his first league game of the season for Ezenkosi after making his long overdue debut in a Nedbank Cup qualifier against Magesi FC in midweek.

The form books favour Cosmos to snatch a crucial win over their opponents from Cape Town following the impressive 4-0 mauling of Magesi, but it won’t be an easy task as Santos have drawn eight of their 14 matches so far.

Dr. Sono, who remains upbeat about taking Cosmos back to the Absa Premiership, is expected to present a formidable squad for Sunday’s encounter, but may be compelled to reshuffle his game plan due to the absence of midfield workhorse, Linda “Figo” Mntambo, and defender Mpho Rasilingwane, who were both sent off in last week’s controversial 2-1 defeat at Royal Eagles.

Injury casualties missing out of the game for Cosmos include Kevin Ndayisenga (knee), Matsilele Sono Junior (hamstring), and Brice Aka (knee).

Midfield starlet, Tebogo “Messi” is also missing from the 18-man squad due to bereavement.

Curtain raiser for the day is between Jomo Cosmos reserves and SAB league side, Touch Eleven FC.

EZENKOSI’S 18-MAN SQUAD TO PLAY SANTOS FC
GOALKEEPERS:
Thabo Modiba, Clement Ramakgasha.
DEFENDERS: Frederic Nsabiyumva, Sipho Mngomezulu, Tumisang Mashele, Siphenathi Laqwela, Shane Thompson, Thato Lingwati, Ananias Gebhardt, Ange Dahou Lebahi.
MIDFIELDERS: Wiseman Maluleke, Karabo Mkhabela, Tebogo Makobela, Njabulo Qwabe, Denzil Haoseb.
FORWARDS: Mxolisi Macuphu, Nkanyiso Madonsela, Lefa Sdumo Hlongwane.

-Mark Ogagan

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