Mystery death of a soccer star
LESS than a month after the death of Keryn Jordan, another former Bafana Bafana player, Bennett Masinga, has died.
Masinga’s body was found on Friday morning at his home in Stilfontein, North West, but details remained sketchy at the time of publication.
Phil Masinga, the 48-year-old’s cousin and former teammate, expressed shock at the death of the former striker.
I received a call to say he was found dead that morning. He was staying on his own in Khuma in Stilfontein.
The death came as a big shock to the family because he was looking fit and healthy when we last saw him,” Phil said.
Former Sundowns managing director Natasha Tsichlas was still in shock yesterday from the news.
That phone call that gave me the news was one of the most painful I’ve ever received. I still cannot believe it. I did not sleep as all the pictures and memories of Bennett came back to me.
He was a legend, a really big legend in South Africa, not only for Sundowns, but for the national team, too. He was more than just one of the best players, but part of my family, the Sundowns family and family to many other South Africans.
Bennett was loved by everyone in football circles, but most importantly he gave so much love to those he came across. I also learnt so much from working with him as a young player. He will be sorely missed. My heart really breaks, and I pray God will give all of us strength because this is a big loss.”
Former Downs boss Angelo Tsichlas added that Masinga played a key role in the success of the club in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
He was one of the greatest players in Sundowns’ golden era. He will be remembered for his role and goals that won the club lots of trophies.” Masinga, known as Benito” and Loverboy to his many fans, was born in Klerksdorp where he began his professional career for Klerksdorp City. He scored on debut in February 1986 as City beat Witbank Aces.
The following year he moved to Pretoria, where he joined Mamelodi Sundowns and made a name for himself in a stint spanning from 1987 to 1994. He went on to play for Seven Stars, Hellenic, Santos, Manning Rangers and Mthatha Bush Bucks.
He made five appearances for Bafana Bafana between 1992 and 1993, and scored one goal in the team’s third match after readmission to the international stage, against Cameroon in a 2-2 draw which saw him and his cousin Phil getting on the scorers’ sheet.
That game at FNB Stadium in 1992 remains one of many treasured memories his cousin carries.
He leaves me with so many great memories. He was in a class of his own as a player. He was different. He was short and a lot of opponents thought because of his size he posed no danger, yet he would go on to give them lots of problems,” Phil said.
I grew up with him, and he was my everything my mentor, my brother, my inspiration. I always wanted to emulate him. I’ve always said he was a much better player than I ever was.
He was definitely one of the best strikers this country has ever seen. He was such a humble, quiet, shy guy.”
Former Bafana coach Clive Barker also paid tribute to Masinga: Bennett was a marvellous, talented player. He was an absolute superstar. This is a big loss. I’d like to send my deepest condolences to the Masinga family.”