Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE death of former Premier Soccer League chief executive, Chris Sambo, has once again ignited the debate on the establishment of a local football Hall of Fame.
Sambo died in Harare on Wednesday night just five days after celebrating his 69th birthday.
He will be buried today at the Greendale Cemetery.
Sambo was widely regarded as an astute administrator who helped turn around the face of football at the PSL, and the clubs he worked with.
Former colleagues also said football had lost an encyclopedia of the domestic game and called on ZIFA to expedite the establishment of the Hall of Fame.
“We have lost one of the finest football brains. This is when we call on the authorities to initiate the issue of the Hall of Fame for sportspersons and administrators,” said former colleague Simeon Jamanda.
Sambo had leadership roles at Blackpool and Motor Action, who distinguished themselves by their colourful swagger and professional football set-up.
“We cannot write the history of Zimbabwean football without mentioning Chris Sambo, whose contribution was immense and could be felt by everybody,’’ said Jamanda.
“So, we are calling upon the authorities that this issue of football Hall of Fame should come into reality so that football history could be documented.
“The people who contributed should now be recognised through the gathering history by the establishment of this Hall of Fame.
“There are many people who have contributed to the development of this game over the years and many of them have been forgotten.
“So, we are saying the Hall of Fame is more like a football heroes’ acre, where football heroes will be remembered always.’’
Zimbabwean sport, in general, has poor record keeping.
It is a big challenge to access simple football facts and figures from the ZIFA office and history has been distorted as a result.
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo, and his executive, revisited the issue of establishing the Hall of Fame at their last board meeting.
They set up a four-member committee to try and steer the project into reality.
The subject has been on the cards for decades and successive leaders have, somehow, failed to deliver.
Kamambo has promised the project would see the light before the end of his tenure in 2022.
The football family agree there is need to preserve the true records, and accounts, involving the local legends.
History of Zimbabwean football cannot be complete without mentioning five-time Soccer Star of the Year George Shaya, Peter Ndlovu, who became the first African to feature in the English Premiership in 1992, legendary goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar and his medal haul with Liverpool, and coach Sunday Chidzambwa.
Officials like the late ZIFA chairman John Madzima, PSL founding members Morrison Sifelani and Charles Sibanda have also played a big part.
Zimbabwe has also produced excellent match officials, whose names are in danger of being forgotten, and they include Felix Tangawarima, Brighton Mudzamiri and the late Felix Sanyika.
There have also been some success stories written by Zimbabwean teams that need to be celebrated, top among them, the Mighty Warriors Class of 2016 who took part at the Olympic Games in Brazil.
Apart from excelling with Blackpool and Motor Action, Sambo will be remembered as a key figure when the PSL managed to woo Econet to sponsor football in the 2000s.
Sambo, together with his football ally Francis Zimunya, was fearless football critic who always stood for what he believed was the truth.
“Football is poorer once more following the passing on of Sambo,’’ said former ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze.
“Football folklore would be remiss not to record the footprints of one character who would take no prisoner in his quest to register his displeasure.
“He 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 Amazulu, Motor Action and Monomotapa joints.’’
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