In a drama-filled penultimate week of the NFD, Jomo Cosmos took a step closer to avoiding the drop when they ended their home tie 0-0 against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC last Sunday at Makhulong Stadium.
The Cosmos bench was forced to reshuffle the team’s line up with Tebogo Mabula getting the Captain’s armband in place of the suspended Ange Lebahi, while Sicelo Hlatshwayo returned to the heart of defence to partner Stanley Umukoro.
Seun Ledwaba also made the starting XI after a game out and his combination with Mabula, Tumi Ngwepe, Mduduzi Sibeko and Vusumuzi Mncube helped to spice up Ezenkosi’s midfield and keep TTM’s hungry attackers at bay.
However, Cosmos were dealt an early blow when right back Bafana Tshawe was replaced on 11 minutes after sustaining a knee injury.
Both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances in the first half though the best opportunity fell to Ngwepe, who failed to connect a defence-splitting pass by Chibuike Ohizu.
Minutes later Ohizu should have given Cosmos the lead but his tame shot was safely held by goalkeeper Simon Mamudzdi.
On the half hour mark, the Nigerian striker missed target again after receiving a brilliant pass from Mncube.
As half time approached, the visitors carved out a few opportunities of their own but couldn’t breach the Cosmos back line, with goalkeeper Melusi Buthelezi making double saves to deny Nhlanhla Mgaga and Lebogang Mabotja.
The visitors enjoyed massive vocal support from the stands as their traveling army of fans lit up the atmosphere cheering TTM’s every move.
Shortly before half time, Cosmos striker Ohizu had to be stretchered off the pitch following a groin strain, and was replaced by Inky Masuku. But Masuku’s entry made very little impact for the hosts who are still without a proven goal scorer following Charlton Mashumba’s sale in January.
Either side came into the second half intent on winning the game, but both the opposing goalkeepers were kept on their toes on a busy afternoon that saw the forwards and midfielders firing blanks.
A win over TTM could have saved Cosmos some last day drama and taken the team three points clear of fellow relegation candidates Ubuntu Cape Town, but as it stands, it seems only a win next weekend against the already relegated Witbank Spurs, could guarantee Ezenkosi’s NFD status for next season..
The result stretched Ezenkosi’s win-less streak to five straight games leaving the team in 14th position while TTM moved up to number 3.
NFD, 28 April, 2019; Makhulong Stadium
JOMO COSMOS 0
TSHAKHUMA TM 0
Referee: Tshidiso Mkhwanazi
COSMOS: Buthelezi – Tshawe (Kekana 11’), Umukoro, Hlatshwayo, Hanamub – Sibeko, Mabula ©, S. Ledwaba, Ngwepe, Mncube (Mbokoma 87’) – Ohizu (Masuku 42’)
SUBS NOT USED: Chibwe, Gumede, KG Ndlovu, S. Nkosi.
COACH: Jomo Sono
TSHAKHUMA: Simon Mamudzdi – Patrick Meso, Sontaga Mohloding, Tshepo Makgoga, Lebogang Mabotja – Onyedikachi Ononogbu, Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, Nhlanhla Mgaga, Lehlohonolo Nhlapo (Mboniseni Mbandlwa 78’) – Edward Manqele (Themba Chauke 62’), Phumelele Bhengu.
SUBS NOT USED: Tshepo Ramaele, Happy Mashau, Tefo Mokoena, Khunadi Nkoana, Thembisani Nevhulamba.
COACH: Momcilo Medic
BOOKED: Meso, Umukoro, Masuku