|Joel Salifu is no more|
|Monday, 30 July 2012 00:00|
JOEL SALIFU, one of the founding directors of the now defunct but once colourful Premiership outfit Blackpool has died. Salifu died yesterday at a medical centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to his uncle, Simba Kadzamira, the Harare businessman who had been battling cancer, died around 10am.
“He died in Johannesburg today (yesterday).
“Since, December last year he had not been feeling well and Salifu had gone to South Africa last week,” said Kadzamira.
Mourners are gathered at Salifu’s home — 72 Drew Road, The Grange in the capital.
“At the moment we are yet to finalise the burial arrangements but we expect to repatriate his body back home on Tuesday,” said Kadzamira.
Salifu leaves behind a wife, Mildred and three children.
“He has two girls and one boy.
“One of the children is coming from Canada and the other is based in England. It’s a big loss for the whole family and friends,” said Kadzamira.
Salifu ran a motor spares business and served as vice-president of Blackpool. Together with his colleagues — Ronnie Chihota, Ginger Chinguwa, Ben Muchedzi and Joe “Pajero” Musenda, Salifu acquired the franchise of police club Black Mambas in March 1994.
With former Premier Soccer League secretary-general Chris Sambo as their chief executive, “Ndochi’’ as Blackpool were affectionately known change the face of the domestic top-fight bringing in colour and a touch of professionalism in the way clubs are run.
Blackpool also wrote their own piece of history when they won the Castle Cup in 1994 before going on to become the first local side to reach the semi-finals of a continental club competition — the African Cup of Cup Winners (now the Confederation Cup).
In 1993, Salifu was a director at United FC, a team playing in the Zifa Northern Region Division One.
Motor Action executive Simeon “Buju” Jamanda, who worked with Salifu at United and later at Blackpool, said he was still trying to come to terms with the death of the former football administrator.
“It’s a very great loss and to me he was a great who gave me the confidence to venture into football administration,” said Jamanda.
Jamanda was the chief of protocol at United and was also in the structures at Blackpool.
“We went together to form United FC and took players like Angirayi Chapo from Dynamos after we had been barred from using the name Dynamos United.
“Despite the set-backs, we soldiered on and eventually built Blackpool,” said Jamanda.
Ndochi marked their entry in the league with flamboyance as they travelled with a colourful and noisy band of drum beating fans in their black and red stripe.
“Salifu’s contribution to football was immense and he brought colour and funfair. We are devastated because we lost a champion who was passionate about the game,” said Jamanda.
Blackpool also helped hone the skills of such players like George Mbwando who later left for Germany, Edzai Kasinauyo, Joseph Dube, Ernest Chirambadare, Hubert Munjanja, Vusi Laher, John “Toto’’ Ncube, Edelbert Dinha, Masimba Dinyero with Zimbabwe legends Shacky Tauro and Joel Shambo as the coaches.