Former Cosmos player passes away

Simukonda was the current Zambia national Under-23 coach and led the side to the African Under-23 Championships in Senegal late last year.

He had been in hospital for much of the time since mid-December though, but was discharged earlier this month, only to fall ill again.

His death was confirmed on Monday by his former club in Zambia, ZESCO United.

“It is with sorrow that ZESCO United regrets to announce the passing of its former coach, who at the time of his death was Under-23 national team coach and also coach of Nchanga Rangers, Fighton Simukonda,” the statement read.

“He passed away this morning 15th February 2016 at Konkola Mine Hospital in Chililabombwe.”

The 58-year-old, a former captain of the national side, was viewed as one of the top coaches in Zambia and in 2009 led ZESCO to the Champions League group stages.

He was a star for Cosmos for two seasons between 1989 and 1991, later playing for Giant Blackpool and Dangerous Darkies, who he would also coach.

Simukonda also briefly had a spell in charge of the Zambian national side in 1998.

He was named Zambia Coach of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2010.