Premier Soccer League (PSL) founder and former Dynamos chairman Morrison Sifelani (75) has died.
Sifelani, a wily and colourful character, died in the Midlands town of Gweru on Thursday night at his Daylesford home.
His wife Margaret Tshuma confirmed the passing on of the larger-than-life Sifelani saying he succumbed to diarrhoea .
“He died at home at 9pm on Thursday night. He complained of severe diarrhoea for three days and died on Thursday,” said Tshuma.
Sifelani is survived by his wife and 11 children — Ellen, Maxwell, Mandla, Elliot, Sithabile, Elizabeth, Kelvin, Victor, Sakhile, Gugulethu and Kyle.
Kelvin is the most popular of his children. A former DJ with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Kelvin is now based in the United Kingdom.
Burial for the late Sifelani has been set for tomorrow at his rural home in Ntabazinduna. Mourners are gathered at Plot No 1 Shurugwi Road in Gweru.
A shrewd and intelligent business and former football executive, Sifelani leaves the legacy of a tenacious fighter, especially when it came to issues concerning his beloved team Dynamos.
Apart from being a football administrator, Sifelani also worked for Ziscosteel and ZimTrade where he was the chief executive officer.
He is one of the founder members of Dynamos. Together with Chris Sibanda, they were members of the original PSL when he was the chairman and Sibanda the secretary-general.
Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede paid tribute to Sifelani describing him as an “eloquent man”.
“It’s a sad loss for football and his family. I knew Morrison from way back in the 60s. Together with Larry Mavhima, Morrison contributed a lot to Zimbabwean football. He played a big part in shaping me as a football administrator.
“Morrison was an eloquent contributor during our football meetings. It is unfortunate that he died almost ignored by football. Maybe he could have contributed one or two things as we restructure our football,” said Gumede.
A close friend and former Zifa boss Vincent Pamire said Sifelani was “intelligent”.
He said: “It’s a very sad loss to the football world and the Sifelani family. Morrison was a great man and intelligent too. I learnt a lot from him as a football administrator. He single-handedly brought Chiredzi onto the football scene when he worked in that town a long time ago.
“Never mind the squabbles that he was involved in at Dynamos, but the man was very important to that team. Dynamos was Sifelani and Sifelani was Dynamos.”
Efforts to get a comment from his other close ally, Bernard Marriot, were in vain as his mobile phone went unanswered but Dynamos secretary Oliver Manyau said: “We are very saddened by the loss of Mr Sifelani, our founding father at Dynamos. He was a very important person at the club. His wisdom and deep knowledge of the game was very crucial and shaped the club to what it is today. We will miss his intelligence.”
Indeed the man was sharp and most of the time provided what journalists term “quotable quotes”.
Speaking to Realsoccer recently about the current football administrators, Sifelani had this to say: “I cannot go back to soccer right now because all the hands that are currently running it are bloodied. They are all like Lucifer in the Bible — busy trying to selfishly make money for themselves and not worrying about the game, which we all love in Zimbabwe.
“The only person that I admired or that I admire in local football is the (late) great John Madzima. Madzima was a man of principle and courage. While people do not appreciate it, he did a lot for our football. History will judge us and please write that John Madzima was and will forever be the best man that ran football in dear Zimbabwe.”
Talking to our sister newspaper, the Zimbabwe Independent about the Dynamos ownership wrangle in 2006, Sifelani blasted politicians from Zanu PF who had their hands in the club coffers.
He said: “It’s criminal, diabolical and satanic that some politicians and illegitimate people with no links to the club just take over what we have sweated for, and we make no apologies for defending the institution of Dynamos.”
That was Sifelani for you and narrating his life story might take ages. May his soul rest in eternal peace.