Jomo Cosmos owner and coach Jomo Sono has entered into a joint venture with an Israeli company in a bid to help preserve the stories of South Africa’s football icons.
This week, Sono launched TV2GO, an online free television streaming service, complete with 100 channels carrying diverse content ranging from sport, fashion and news to music, gaming and finance – and a lot more besides.
“The idea came about two years ago, when I was in Israel looking for business opportunities,” Sono (63) told City Press during a low-key launch of the platform in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
Technology is controlling the world these days, so it was a good decision to venture into this market.
Sono is president of Infinivy SA, which is a part owner of the platform, together with Israeli firm Cast-TV, which provides the technology.
“When I joined this company, it gave me an idea: ‘Why can’t I create a channel for our sports legends, where their stories can be told and their history preserved?’ The sad thing is, when you retire in South Africa, no one cares about you any more,” said Sono.
Sono said the fact that his club, Jomo Cosmos, previously had a dedicated TV channel on pay-broadcaster SuperSport also influenced his latest business venture.
“Cosmos had its own channel, but when we got relegated [at the end of the 2015/16 season] it was stopped.”
There is already a Cosmos channel on TV2GO and there will soon be a separate platform reserved for our soccer icons’ stories.
I want to have all the greats in this country featured. We will even go overseas to try to retrieve the footage of [the late] Ace Ntsoelengoe playing
“People still want to compare me to Ntsoelengoe, but there isn’t enough video material to show our history.
“I want to do the same for legends such as Mlungisi ‘Professor’ Ngubane because people in KwaZulu-Natal see him overweight these days and think he never played football.”
Sono said the project was not only about football: “We offer a variety of channels, including a music channel featuring the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, as well as a boxing channel featuring legendary fighters such as Jacob ‘Baby Jake’ Matlala and Peter ‘Terror’ Mathebula.”
The larger-than-life Sono said TV2GO did not have the rights to show live programmes as yet. And, although consumers do not pay subscription fees, they do have to fork out for data costs.
Sono’s business partner, Infinivy chief executive Yaron Chen, explained: “There are no hidden fees for all network customers on 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. It’s a new market, and it’s for free.
“When we met Jomo and showed him the TV2GO project, he said: ‘I can bring free TV to my people.’ Since last year, we’ve implemented a huge operation with more than 100 channels. We are affiliated with Vodacom, which will do all the marketing for us.”