Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA and the Premier Soccer League have mourned the sudden passing away of the league’s former chief executive officer Chris Sambo.
Sambo died at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Wednesday five days after celebrating his 69th birthday.
According to Sambo’s Lifelong Footballers Trust colleague Francis Zimunya, the former Blackpool chief executive officer passed away at a time he was busy working on bringing to life a multipurpose football complex in Harare and had brought in investors to fund the project.
In condolence messages issued by their spokespersons Xolisani Gwesela and Kudzai Bare, Zifa and the PSL said they learnt with deep shock and sadness of the untimely passing away of Sambo.
The PSL described him as a passionate and dedicated football servant who gave a lot to the game he loved.
Zifa said it learnt with ‘great consternation’ of the passing of Sambo, adding that football had lost a great servant, who served Zimbabwean football with tenacity and distinction.
“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,” said Gwesela.
“A lot of football administrators, past and current, drew wisdom from Sambo’s wealth of knowledge and experience. 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.”
As chief executive officer of the league, the PSL said Sambo served with distinction and advocated for the full commercialisation of football and also 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,” Bare wrote.
Former PSL secretary general, Mwandibhuya Mutepfa, who is now based abroad, took to Facebook to mourn the passing of Sambo, whom he worked with.
“I cannot believe that you are gone my brother Chris. You were a true brother during our administration at PSL. You helped me when I was SG; we stood our ground on some issues that needed real men. Football will miss you. We treated all clubs the same, big or small without fear or favour. Go well Chriss Faranando Sambo,” wrote Mutepfa.
Sambo was expected to be laid to rest yesterday.