COSAFA extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of South African former referee and football administrator Ian McLeod, who passed away on Thursday night.
McLeod, 63, was one of the most respected and loved figures in the Southern African game who played a huge role in developing the next generation of match officials.
He was a diminutive figure, but one that commanded authority and was a wise council for many in the game down the years.
“He was such a warm person always jovial. I remember at the last COSAFA tournament that I struggled to get him the right size of the golf shirts. We heartily joked and laughed about it,” Zambian referees assessor Katongo Kabungo said.
“I trained with him as referee instructor and referee assessor in Cairo several times. My heartfelt condolences to COSAFA on this terrible loss.”
John Muinjo, former chairman of the COSAFA Referees Committee, also feels a sense of loss.
“Little did I know that the last time I would see him was on 7 October at FNB Stadium when I was commissioning South Africa and Burkina Faso. So painful!” Muinjo said.
McLeod, who also worked as a headmaster, became a referee in 1993 and quickly rose through the ranks, officiating at the 1996 African Nations Cup finals.
He also blew his whistle at the 1998 Nations Cup, the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and mostly notably the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
He later served as a match commissioner for COSAFA and was chairman of the SAFA technical committee.