By ADRIAN MWANZA –
FORMER Chipolopolo team manager Solly Pandor collapsed and died while trying to open his sports shop on Cairo Road in Lusaka in the early hours of yesterday.
Pandor’s brother Yunus confirmed the death of the long-serving Zambia team manager, saying he died of heart attack around 07:00hours at his shop in the central business district of Lusaka.
Pandor, 58, was buried yesterday just after sunset at the Leopards Hill Cemetery as per Muslim tradition.
Yunus said Pandor became Chipolopolo team manager after the Gabon disaster in 1993 up until Zambia’s quarter final ejection at the 2010 Angola Africa Cup of Nations though there was one brief stoppage from the National team in that period.
He said Pandor was a good man who would be dearly missed by his family and those in the football circles because of his hard work.
“He was a pillar in our family and I’m sure everyone is going to miss him dearly because he was a very caring person,” he said.
Various football administrators mourned Pandor and none more than Teddy Mulonga, the former two-time FAZ president under whom Pandor served diligently.
“Solly was one of the most dedicated people I ever worked with in football, he was such a dedicated and dependable servant of the game. He was ever reliable and always winning in his tasks. May His Soul Rest In Peace.
“He treated his assignments with humility with utmost enthusiasm. The football fraternity has lost a luminary of the game. My condolences go to the family,” he said.
Mulonga said football administration has a lot of pitfalls adding he encountered many in his two tenures as FAZ president but that those involving the national team were always met by Pandor who was equal to any challenge.
And Zambian football icon Kalusha Bwalya, who worked with Pandor, as a players, coach and administrator, expressed shock and sadness at the sudden loss of Pandor and described him as a good friend and brother.
He said he was an enthusiastic, dedicated and loyal manager of the national team and would be missed dearly by all.
“I would like to urge the Pandor family to be strong during this difficult time and to remain united,” said Kalusha, the immediate past FAZ president.
Another former FAZ president Simataa Simataa said the death of former Chipolopolo Team Manager was a blow to the football fraternity in the country.
Simataa said he had worked with Pandor for a long time and remembered him most for his hard work and dedication to the team.
He said the football fraternity had lost a gallant soldier who ensured that the Chipolopolo management was taken care of.
“We went in football at the same time and through the years, he became a good friend and we accomplished a lot of things together,” he said.
Former Chipolopolo coach Patrick Phiri said he worked with Pandor and that he was one of the best team managers he had worked with.
Phiri said Pandor’s death was a blow because he greatly contributed to the management of the Chipolopolo and urged his family to be strong during this time of grief.
“We have lost one of the best Team Managers who ever managed the Chipolopolo,” he said.
The Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) has described the death of Pandor as a big loss as he had carried out his work diligently in the management of the national team.