‘Chippa’ Masinga gone way, way too soon
A FOOTBALL hero gone too soon… way, way too soon.
That just about sums up the overwhelming sense of shock and sadness in the South African soccer fraternity yesterday when the news reached us of the sudden death of Phil “Chippa” Masinga, one of the all-time Bafana Bafana greats.
The bare statistics hardly do justice to the man: An international career that started in 1992 and finished in 2001 yielded 18 goals in 58 matches in the Bafana jersey.
There were also memorable stints in the colours of Jomo Cosmos, Mamelodi Sundowns, Leeds United and Bari, among others.
But of course, he will always have a special place in the hearts of South Africans for the wonderful goal he scored against Congo in 1997 to secure a place for Bafana in the 1998 World Cup.
In front of 80 000 fans at the old FNB Stadium, Masinga burst past the Congo defence in typically abrasive fashion before unleashing a rocket of a shot from his right boot which thundered into the corner of the net.
Masinga was of course also part of the Bafana squad which captured the 1996 African Nations Cup trophy on home soil alongside other great names in Bafana history like Doctor Khumalo, John “Shoes” Moshoeu, captain Neil Tovey and coach Clive Barker.
Doctor Khumalo, in fact, said yesterday that Masinga “had made him who he was” by creating so many chances for him on the field of play.
Khumalo said: “Remember in the game when you give the final pass, the finisher is the most important person and he is the one that made me look better.
“He is the one that made people to recognise who I am.”
Masinga was also made of strong inner steel.
He often had to endure the boos from those fans who did not always understand or appreciate his robust approach to the game.
But there is no doubt that his exploits on the world stages inspired many young footballers to shoot for glory.
We mourn his passing and we send our condolences to all his family and loved ones.
Rest in peace, Chippa.