Thursday, June 20, 2024

Zambia’s First Indigenous FIFA Referee Simfukwe Dies


Zambia’s first black FIFA referee Bennet Simfukwe has passed away.

Simfukwe died in Kitwe after an illness.

Below is a FAZ statement on his passing:

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has learnt with deep shock the death of the first ever indigenous FIFA referee Bennet Simfukwe.
Simfukwe who was a decorated sports administrator was bestowed an insignia of meritorious achievement on Africa Freedom Day by President Edgar Lungu died in Kitwe.
The presidential honour was in recognition of his contribution to the development of multi-disciplinary sports in Zambia, including football and basketball.
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga says football has been robbed of a giant who paved the way for indigenous referees in Zambia.
“The death of Mr Simfukwe has come as a great shock especially that football is running out of great minds that were part of the pioneering period of our game,” Kamanga says.
“Such deaths remind us of the need to cherish and honour these greats. In a small we have been unearthing some of these long-forgotten heroes of our game and seek to document their knowledge.”
He adds: “Our thoughts go out to the family as they mourn this great son of the soil.”
Simfukwe’s colourful accolades include becoming the first indigenous International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) referee in 1967.
He was also Confederation of African Football (CAF) commissioner from
1991-2004 and has been a Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) match commissioner from 1985-date.
He also served as FAZ general secretary from 1990-1993, Referees
Association of Zambia (RAZ) chairperson (1968-1969) and Zambia Basketball Association (BAZ) chairperson (1971-1984).
He was also Nkana Football Club chairperson from 1982-1983 and the same club’s secretary and treasurer from 1988-1990.
Simfukwe also captained Zambia’s side to its first All-Africa basketball games in Lagos, Nigeria in 1962 and has also served as board member on the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ).
Among the sports that he played and officiated are football, basketball, bowling, athletics, tennis, golf and field events such as relay, discus and high jump.
Simfukwe died in Kitwe after a short illness.
For and on behalf of:
Sydney Mungala


  1. Benett Simfukwe was a great sportsman. He played basketball for Mufulira Original Magnets in the 60s and 70s with Mufulira Wanderers goalkeeper Abraham Nkole one of the five or six Nkole brothers who were known more for football. Simfukwe’s football career was in Kitwe with Nkana as an adminstrator. RIP great man

  2. I knew. Bennet Simfukwe. well as a referee when. I was. the. coach of. Lusaka. Tigers. F C. 1966 – 1976. He. was an excellent. ref – I. was aways. very. happy when I knew he was gong to officiate. We maintained . contact. much later. when he lived in. the. UK. RIP. Bennet.

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