Johannesburg - Former SAFA vice-president Leepile Taunyane has died at the age of 85, the national soccer body announced on Wednesday.
Taunyane was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital on Saturday after experiencing breathing difficulties.
SAFA president Danny Jordaan said Taunyane's death came as a shock to the football family and he described the former administrator as a true servant of the sport.
"We have lost a true giant and founding father of South African football," Jordaan said on Wednesday.
"He served in many capacities, whether within Safa as an honorary member or the Premier Soccer League."
The PSL also paid tribute to Taunyane on Wednesday for the contribution he had made to the soccer league.
Taunyane began his career as a soccer administrator in Alexandra in the 1960s, when he mentored a young Irvin Khoza, who is the current chairman of the PSL.
The former school teacher served in various leadership roles since the 1970s, including the presidency of the Transvaal Football Association (1974 to 1985), the Alexandra Football Association (1959 to 1980) and vice-president of SAFA (1978 to 1985).
Jordaan said he remembered Taunyane for his unassuming and calm demeanour, insightfulness and great wisdom especially during difficult times.
Taunyane was instrumental in the introduction of the Telkom Charity that donates its proceeds to several charity organisations across the country.
"He was the bridge-builder of social challenges and football," Jordaan said.
"He used the beautiful game to make a contribution to the social needs of societies.
"This is the man who helped football build its first own stadium, something that was prohibited by the apartheid regime."