Rest now ‘Waltz­ing Phil’

One of South Africa’s greats has passed away and the world is poorer with­out his pres­ence

Cape Argus - - SPORT - MI­NENHLE MKHIZE mi­[email protected]

“I’VE JUST lost one of my sons.” That was Jomo Sono’s heart­felt trib­ute to Phil “Chippa” Masinga after the leg­endary Bafana Bafana striker passed away yes­ter­day at the age of 49.

Sono never doubted that Masinga was go­ing to make it big. He scouted his tal­ent back in 1990.

“To be hon­est, when a cer­tain or­gan in your body fails and then it is signs that you won’t stay long.

“May his soul rest in peace. I’ve just lost one of my sons. I lost Sizwe Mo­taung and then it was Thomas Madi­gage and now it is Phil.

“I wasn’t just a coach to these boys but I was a fa­ther, friend, man­ager and the coach. Other coaches are wor­ried about re­sults and that’s how they see it.

“If you don’t pro­duce they get rid of you. I’m very proud to have worked with them. These are leg­ends and no­body can take that away from them,” Sono said.

Masinga made 58 ap­pear­ances for Bafana while notch­ing up 18 strikes.

He won the Africa Cup of Na­tions with Bafana in 1996 un­der the ten­ure of Clive Barker.

He will al­ways be re­mem­bered for the goal that he scored against Congo. His strike saw Bafana qual­i­fy­ing for their maiden Fifa World Cup in 1998 in France.

“Peo­ple will al­ways re­mem­ber Phil for the goal he scored against Congo but I will al­ways re­mem­ber Phil for the goal that he scored for Cos­mos against Or­lando Pi­rates com­ing off the bench.

“He was very skinny. When I sent him to warm up, Or­lando Pi­rates fans were laugh­ing at him. He was so small and young at that time. He came on and scored. He ran straight to me and I asked him why didn’t you go and cel­e­brate in front of those Pi­rates fans and he said, ‘peo­ple back home in Klerks­dorp were go­ing to have a go at me’. When he came on, I told him to go and make those peo­ple eat hum­ble pie and he did just that,” he added.

Masinga also made his name in Europe play­ing for sides like Leeds United (in Eng­land), St. Gallen (Switzer­land), Saler­ni­tana and Bari (both Italy) and Al-Wahda (United Arab Emi­rates). He also had a suc­cess­ful stint with Mamelodi Sun­downs.

“Phil had a big match tem­per­a­ment. He was not eas­ily shaken. Even when they booed him, he still de­liv­ered for the coun­try. At that time it was play­ers from Jomo Cos­mos that were get­ting booed. It was Masinga and the likes of Au­gus­tine Makalakalane. It was po­lit­i­cal be­cause I was out­spo­ken. When they left Cos­mos, they were never booed. Even Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko got booed. It was my play­ers but Masinga was never shaken by that. He was strong men­tally, “Sono ex­plained.

Masinga died as an ac­tive mem­ber of South African Mas­ters and Leg­ends.

“I think it will take us time to pro­duce strik­ers like Phil, Shaun Bartlett and Benni McCarthy. What a player.

“He was al­ways hun­gry to score goals. His pres­ence was very in­tim­i­dat­ing,” Sono elab­o­rated.

Masinga is fifth on the list of all-time lead­ing goal scor­ers be­hind McCarthy, Bartlett and Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker (who are tied on 23 goals).

“This is a great loss to South African foot­ball.

“I shared a lot with Phil. God is al­ways there to help those that are hurt. He will strengthen his fam­ily. It is so un­for­tu­nate to lose him at the very young age. He was my son,” Sono con­cluded.

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