McLeod was an ‘iconic’ Safa ref­eree and a ‘true gentle­man’

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OBITUARIES - NKULULEKO NENE

SOUTH African soc­cer fans are mourn­ing the death of ref­eree

Ian McLeod, who was the first to rep­re­sent the coun­try at a world cup, in 1998.

The 63-year-old died on Thurs­day night af­ter be­ing ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal last week.

For­mer SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) vice pres­i­dent Mubarak Mo­hamed de­scribed McLeod as an icon who con­ducted him­self with re­spect and hu­mil­ity on and off the field.

Mo­hamed said he had known McLeod for more than four decades and first met in the am­a­teur divi­sion.

“He was an iconic ref­eree in Dur­ban, very ded­i­cated. He was com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing other ref­er­ees. I ap­pointed him to of­fi­ci­ate at the Premier Soc­cer League level af­ter hav­ing so much faith in him be­cause I knew what he was ca­pa­ble of.

“He has never dis­ap­pointed. He has never been found in any al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion. The stan­dard that he set will be­come more dif­fi­cult for oth­ers to em­u­late. I lost a col­league and a men­tor in him,” Mo­hamed said.

McLeod ref­er­eed many in­tense Soweto der­bies be­tween Orlando Pi­rates and Kaizer Chiefs. He was revered as a no-non­sense ref­eree. He would flash a wide smile while point­ing to a penalty spot and was never afraid to send play­ers off with red cards.

“He han­dled those games very well. We did not think twice on who to ap­point for the big matches,” Mo­hamed said.

Safa chief ex­ec­u­tive Den­nis Mum­ble de­scribed McLeod as a true gentle­man who would be sorely missed in the foot­ball fra­ter­nity.

At his time of death, he had been serv­ing as a match com­mis­sioner for Safa.

“Ian was a per­fect gentle­man, never an­gry with any­one and al­ways smil­ing.

“He will be ex­tremely missed by the en­tire foot­ball fam­ily. We are re­ally sad­dened by the pass­ing away of Ian,” said Mum­ble.

A for­mer school teacher who worked with McLeod at Dur­ban North’s Vir­ginia Prepara­tory School said he had been a kind man.

Teacher Kim Pet­zer said McLeod had been pop­u­lar with teach­ers, pupils and gen­eral staff alike for the seven years he spent at the school be­tween 1993 and 2000.

He later re­lo­cated to Craw­ford Schools, where he taught on both the Dur­ban and Pre­to­ria cam­puses in the early 2000s.

“McLeod had a deep love for work­ing with chil­dren and he be­came the beloved prin­ci­pal of thou­sands of pupils. We wish to ex­tend our sin­cere con­do­lences to his wife

Judy, his sons Michael and Ja­son, as well as his Craw­ford fam­ily of col­leagues and pupils,” the school said.

PIC­TURE: MUZI NTOMBELA/BACKPAGEPIX.

Ian McLeod shares a lighter mo­ment with then-Mar­itzburg United coach Roger de Sa in Fe­bru­ary at the Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium in At­teridgeville.

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