‘Chippa’ Masinga gone way, way too soon

Daily News - - OPINION -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.