Mthetho Ndoni and Ramatsiyi Moholoa
POPULAR sports commentator Zingisile Johnson Matiso died on Monday, aged 47. The Eastern Cape-born commentator, who had been living in Johannesburg, died after a long illness.
He worked as a radio broadcaster at Umhlobo Wenene in the Eastern Cape for 23 years.
Matiso commentated especially on soccer, but also on athletics, rugby and cricket. He was known as Ngxilimbela (The Boss).
SABC Eastern Cape head Zola Yeye said Matiso's death was a sad loss for family, friends and radio listeners.
"Zingisile was highly talented and very original in his soccer broadcasting style and when you lose such talent, you feel numb," Yeye said.
"He was a role model and an inspiration to young and old.
"When I watched live soccer matches on television, I turned off the sound and listened on the radio to Zingisile."
Yeye said the voices of Matiso and his close colleague and fellow sports commentator Mthuthuzeli Scott and their analysis of sport were legendary.
Former national sports minister Ngconde Balfour said it was painful to hear about Matiso's death.
"My greatest memory of him was when we did commentating together for the 1995 Rugby World Cup before I became the sport minister.
"He was a people's person and his voice will be sorely missed."
Colleague and friend Scott said he first met Matiso at the sport commentator auditions at the SABC head office in Auckland Park in 1990.
"We were both trained as commentators by Dumile Mateza and we kept that chain of being Eastern Cape homeboys."
Matiso was scheduled to cover 15 matches of the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations but his health deteriorated in December.
The National African Football Supporters' Association said Matiso's death was a sad loss for sport and fans.
"Ngxilimbela made soccer commentary so entertaining and we used to enjoy every moment of it," association general secretary Siyabulela Makunga said.
"He used to bring PSL matches to our homes and cars.
"Some people took their portable radios to the stadiums to listen to Ngxilimbela's commentary while watching the live action."
The funeral of Matiso will take place on February 9.