COSAFA mourns passing of Zambian referee Leah Namukonde

COSAFA has learnt with shock and sadness of the passing of Zambian referee Leah Namukonde, who died on Wednesday morning after being involved in a car accident at the weekend.

Namukonde was one of the top female referees from the Southern African region and had officiated at the recent COSAFA Women’s Championships in Port Elizabeth.

COSAFA Referees Manager Felix Tangawarima says it is a huge loss for the region and offered condolences to the family of Namukonde.

“It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing on of Leah Namukonde our female FIFA Referee from Zambia,” Tangawarima said. “Leah was involved in a car accident on Saturday shortly after officiating a local premier league game. Her car was hit by an allegedly drunk driver and she has been in the ICU in Ndola until this morning when passed on.

“Leah has been on the FIFA panel of Referees since 2016 after we identified her in 2014 during a FIFA MA course. As part of the COSAFA development programme in which we were earmarking her to take over from Gladys Lengwe, the great Zambian female referee, she was part of the COSAFA Refereeing team during the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Zimbabwe and again in South Africa this year. She had also officiated a number of CAF International games.

“Leah was a High School teacher of Mathematics and Physical Education. A board member of the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, she was also the General Secretary of Taekwondo and an Aerobics Instructor.

“She was a very humble member of the COSAFA referees family. It is a very sad day for all of us in the COSAFA referees family. Leah had a bright future in her refereeing career which has just been cut short.

“My sincere condolences to her family, to COSAFA and the COSAFA Referees Family, the Zambian referees fraternity and The Football Association of Zambia.

“I pray that God gives you the strength to go through this very difficult period,” Tangawarima said.