THE late veteran administrator, Chris Sambo, has been described as a no-nonsense giant who always spoke his mind, as condolences continue to pour in for the former Premier Soccer League chief executive.
Sambo died at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals on Wednesday night after a short illness and is expected to be buried Friday.
His death comes as football is also mourning the loss of the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement and former Chapungu patron, Perrance Shiri, who passed away earlier on Wednesday morning.
Former PSL chairperson, Twine Phiri, led the tributes as the Zimbabwe football fraternity mourned Sambo, who was also an executive member of the famed Blackpool side that rocked the Premiership in the 1990s.
“Deepest condolences. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Phiri said.
The PSL, through communications officer Kudzai Bare, released a statement in which they also expressed shock and sadness over Sambo’s death.
“The PSL learnt with shock and deep sadness of the untimely passing of former PSL CEO Chris Sambo. Mr Sambo was a passionate and dedicated football servant who gave a lot for for the love of the game.
“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 would always be remembered by everyone who he had the opportunity to work with him.
“As we mourn his sad departure, we celebrate his immense contribution to local football. We extend heartfelt condolences to his family,’’ Bare said.
Former Premier Soccer League vice-chairperson, Tendai “Mr T” Madzorera, described the late Sambo as a giant.
“Rest in peace my former PSL secretary-general. Another football giant has fallen,” Madzorera said.
Former PSL secretary, Mwandibhuya Mutepfa, wrote a touching post on his Facebook wall.
“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 really needed real man. Football will miss you.
“Dzimwe hondo dzatakarwa hadzidi pa Facebook but all for the good of the game. We treated all the clubs the same, big or small, and without fear of favour.
“Go well Chris Faranando Sambo,” wrote Mutepfa.
Former ZIFA and CAF referee, Tendai Bwanya, expressed shock.
“It’s very sad to hear the news of the passing on of a legendary football administrator Chris Sambo.
“He was a very charismatic leader who always had an ear to anyone talking about his passionate sport,” he said.
Dynamos chief executive officer, Jonathan Mashingaidze, also paid his condolences.
“Football is poorer once more following the passing on of Mukoma Sambo,” said Mashingaidze.
“Football folklore would be remiss to record the footprints of one character who would take no prisoners in his quest to register his displeasure.
“A character who was part of the colourful football ensemble of our football trading under the name Blackpool. Ndochi lit the football landscape with a swagger that would compare with the likes of Amazulu, Motor Action and Monomotapa.
“From Blackpool, Mkoma moved to the PSL establishment. A colourful giant of local football,” said Mashingaidze.
A number of prominent ex-footballers, including Alois Bunjira and Cosmos Kabote – who starred for Blackpool in 1995 when Sambo was one of the executive members – also took to social media to express their feelings.
“I was planning to call him about a football project I am doing in Honde Valley and he could have come in handy. He was part of my vision for the project.
“I knew him from my playing days at Blackpool. May his dear soul rest in peace,” said Bunjira.
“RIP Mudhara, we will miss you,” Kabote wrote on FaceBook.
Arcadia United legend, Charlie Jones, also sent his condolences.
“Very sad, may his soul rest in peace,” wrote Jones.
Experienced sports administrator, Titus Zvomuya, described the late Sambo as a passionate football administrator.
“He was a passionate football administrator who was also very knowledgeable. Will be greatly missed.”
Former CAPS United executive, Wellington Chando, said Zimbabwean football had lost an icon.
“We had lots of mutual respect towards each other. Mukoma Chris vandirwadza. We have lost an icon. He would speak his mind out,” wrote Chando.
Ex- Dynamos, Shooting Stars and CAPS United winger, Clive Mwale, who is back in his native Zambia, also posted his condolences on Facebook, while former CAPS United public relations manager, Joyce Kapota, described Sambo’s death as a huge loss to the game.
“Will forever his guidance and advice. Unfortunately, most of the things he wanted perfected were never done,” Kapota posted on her Facebook page.