ZIFA yesterday led domestic football in mourning the death of former PSL chief executive, Chris Sambo, who died in Harare on Wednesday evening.
The former Blackpool secretary-general will be buried at Greendale Cemetery this afternoon.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has learnt with great consternation the passing on of former PSL chief executive officer, Chris Sambo,” ZIFA said in a statement.
“Football has 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 time 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.”
The PSL said Sambo was one of the game’s leading lights.
“Mr Sambo was a passionate and dedicated football servant who gave a lot for the love of the game,” the league said.
“As the PSL chief executive, 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 to work with him.
“As we mourn his sad departure, we celebrate his immense contribution in the development of local football.”
Dynamos chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, who spent several years as ZIFA boss, said Sambo was a rare breed in football administration.
“Football is poorer, once more, following the passing on of Sambo (Chris),” 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.
“He was a character who was part of the colourful football ensemble trading under the name Blackpool, popularly known as Ndochi, which lit the landscape with a swagger that would later be replicated by the likes of Amazulu, Motor Action and Monomotapa.
“From Blackpool Sambo moved to the PSL establishment, a colourful giant of local football. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
“After all of us are in the departure lounge, waiting for confirmation of our flight schedule, to the final destination.”
Former Dynamos chairman, Simon Makaza, said Sambo was a good football administrator.
“His death is a blow not only to the Sambo family, but to the nation as a whole,” he said.
One of the key players at Blackpool during Sambo’s era, Masimba Dinyero, said Ndochi’s progress to the semi-finals of the CAF Cup of Winners Cup in 1994 was largely attributable to the administrative astuteness of the likes of Sambo.
“To put it into perspective, a team cannot do anything meaningful without good administration,” said Dinyero.
“Sambo was part of the administration at Blackpool when we made that piece of history in 1994.
“His system of administration was top-notch.
“Without sound administration, we wouldn’t have achieved what we achieved in 1994.
“It’s unfortunate but the Sambo family shouldn’t despair knowing one of their own played such a critical role in transforming the game of football in this country.”
Sambo is survived by eight children and 10 grandchildren.