Tribute to the late Wallace Mabuza

The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) sends their sincere condolences to the family of former Swaziland referee and COSAFA Referees Committee member Wallace Mabuza, who passed away recently after a short illness.

The 62-year-old was one of the top referees on the African continent through the 1990s, before hanging up his whistle to become a key member of a number of referee bodies, as well as a FIFA Match Commissioner.

Mabuza most recently served on the COSAFA Referees Committee that did duty at the COSAFA Cup 2015 in South Africa in May, where the standard of the officiating was roundly applauded.

“It is with sadness and sorrow that I received the bad news on the passing of Wallace Mabusa, who was a dedicated and committed member of the COSAFA Referee’s Committee. Not knowing that those were his last days, we had a special bond during this year’s COSAFA Cup tournament that I will always cherish. Rest In Peace Your Highness, as we all called you,” said John Muinjo, Chairman of the COSAFA Referee’s Committee.

Referees Manager for the Football Association of Zambia, Katongo Kabungo, who also served on the COSAFA Referees Committee, says Mabuza will be missed as a person and a valued colleague.

“Mr Mabuza had been a member of the Referees Committee of COSAFA since 2013 and actively participated in the selection of the referees for the last two editions of COSAFA Cup, and acted as commissioner as well as referee assessor during the tournaments,” Kabungo said.

“He was a valuable member of the committee and was always ready to offer advice to the referees during tournaments, and to the committee as we made appointments.

“He was a very likeable, cheerful person whom all of us in the committee never addressed by name, but by the title we gave him, coming as he did from the Kingdom of Swaziland, we called him “Your Highness”. He will be sadly missed.”

Swaziland Football Association CEO Frederick Mngometulu added his voice to the praise of Mabuza when he told the Observer:

“We are shocked and saddened by the passing away of Mabuza, who served local football as a referee up to match commissioner level. We would like to send our sincere condolences to the Mabuza family, the National Referees Association of Swaziland (NNAS) and the football fraternity for the loss.

“He served and represented the country diligently. We will always treasure his contribution to the development of local football and the standard of refereeing in the country.”

Sabelo Kunene from NNAS added a final word: “He was a great man and we will always remember him. He was a good leader and a straight talker.”