Football family mourns Sambo  

Godknows Matarutse

THE football fraternity has described the untimely death of former Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive officer Chris Sambo, pictured, as a huge loss to the game that will be difficult to replace.
Sambo, a veteran football administrator, died on Wednesday evening in Harare according to his family.
The former Blackpool administrator, was 69 and is survived by eight children; as well as 10 grandchildren.
Sambo’s daughter Wadzanai said the family intend to bury him today at Greendale Cemetery in the capital.
“To us he was a great dad and a role model to his grandchildren. The whole family looked after him and it’s really a huge loss,” Wadzanai told the Daily News yesterday.
“Whenever he was needed he was always there even at church, he was an usher. He is someone we are really proud of. He was so passionate about football and we as a family are proud he was our dad.
“We had provisionally set tomorrow (today) as burial at Greendale but we are having challenges to move around because of lockdown, we will communicate if there are any changes.”
The former PSL boss was credited for being part of the football leaders, who ushered the new league’s era while also luring telecommunications giants Econet to partnering the league.
Lately, Sambo had  become a member of the Lifelong Footballers’ Trust which is led by the militant Francis Zimunya and heavily critical of the way domestic football is being administered.
He had also become an advocate for women’s football in poor communities.
In their condolence message, the PSL said Sambo “served the league with distinction while advocating for commercialisation of the game.”
“The PSL leant with shock and deep sadness of the untimely passing of…Sambo, who was a passionate and dedicated servant who gave a lot for the love of the game,” the league’s spokesperson Kudzai Bare said.
“As PSL CEO, he served the league with distinction. He advocated for the full commercialisation of football and facilitated various competitions and sponsorship models. His life, work, and generosity will always be remembered by everyone, who had the opportunity of working with him.
“As we mourn his sad departure, we celebrate his immense contribution in the development of local football. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Sambo family, friends and the entire football family. May the Lord comfort you during this difficult time.”
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) described Sambo as a giant of domestic football.
“Zifa has learnt with great consternation of the passing on of…Sambo. Football has lost a great servant who served Zimbabwean football with tenacity and distinction,” Zifa said in a statement yesterday.
“The giant of Zimbabwean football has been promoted to glory. His demise is undoubtedly a great blow to the game. Sambo was  a sober voice driven by passion, excellence and professionalism for the success of the game.
“Even during his times at Blackpool, the club was professionally administered. His untimely death is a great loss, not only to the game but also to the nation at large. A lot of football administrators, past and current, drew wisdom from Sambo’s  wealth of knowledge and experience.
“On behalf of the Zifa executive committee, council, secretariat and the football fraternity, I would like to convey sincere condolences to the Sambo family for their loss. Zimbabwean football has lost a leading light too.
“In this moment of mourning and forever after, we shall derive consolation from the fact that Sambo left an indelible mark on the game he loved so much. We owe him one last promise, to continue developing the game to standards he envisaged.”
Chicken Inn secretary-general Tavengwa Hara expressed shock on the passing of Sambo, whom he described as a shrewd administrator whose brilliant ideas were vital in taking the local game forward.
“The Chicken Inn FC family joins the whole football fraternity in consoling the Sambo family. As a club we acknowledge that the football structures we are enjoying today has it’s foundations from this great man.’’

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