Daily News - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE [email protected]

MEN come and go but the foot­prints left be­hind shall never be wiped away by the rain.

Phile­mon Masinga may be gone but he is not for­got­ten.

His legacy will live on. I was dev­as­tated yes­ter­day when I heard about the pass­ing away of the leg­endary Masinga.

What a leg­end!

What a man!

A very ac­com­plished in­di­vid­ual yet so hum­ble. A true gen­tle­man of the game. When he was play­ing I was still a kid but I saw some of his best foot­ball.

At his best, Masinga was lethal. When­ever I wanted his in­sight, Masinga was al­ways avail­able. He never gave me at­ti­tude.

He treated ev­ery­one with the ut­most re­spect.

Masinga was a spe­cial in­di­vid­ual. I con­ducted sev­eral in­ter­views with him and he al­ways spoke sense. I’m not say­ing this be­cause he is no longer with us, I’m just stat­ing the facts.

His con­tri­bu­tions to South African foot­ball will never be for­got­ten.

The won­der goal he scored against Congo will al­ways be ranked as a high­light in Masinga’s ca­reer. Bafana Bafana needed a hero in that game and Masinga raised his hand and res­cued.

It was a mag­nif­i­cent goal. It was a cracker. It was a stun­ner. It was a scorcher.

They were in pur­suit of qual­i­fy­ing for their maiden Fifa World Cup and Masinga pro­duced a mo­ment of magic. The whole coun­try was in a jovial mood.

His­tory was made and made in style. Masinga will al­ways be re­mem­bered as one of the most ac­com­plished marks­men the coun­try has ever pro­duced.

He is fifth on the list of the all-time lead­ing scor­ers for Bafana be­hind Benni McCarthy (31 goals), Shaun Bartlett (29 goals) and Katlego Mphela (23) and Bernard Parker (23).

Masinga net­ted 18 goals in 58 ap­pear­ances for Bafana.

Masinga was a nat­u­ral fin­isher. He was not skil­ful but he was all about goals.

Masinga suf­fered a bar­rage of crit­i­cism dur­ing his ca­reer with Bafana but never suc­cumbed to that pres­sure. He was jeered but that didn’t bring him down.

Jomo Sono de­scribed him as some­one with big match tem­per­a­ment who was very strong men­tally.

He showed that when the masses booed him.

Masinga re­sponded by scor­ing goals. Play­ers like Tham­sanqa Gabuza of Orlando Pi­rates can take a lot of lessons from the late Masinga.

Gabuza has been the vic­tim of the boo boys. Ear­lier this sea­son Gabuza couldn’t take it any­more as he de­cided to sub­sti­tute him­self.

You never saw that with Masinga. He only knew one way to re­spond and that was by bang­ing in goals. May his soul rest in peace.

The leg­end won’t be booed in heaven be­cause he will meet his for­mer team­mates in John “Shoes” Moshoeu and Sizwe Mo­taung.

They all helped Bafana Bafana to lift the Africa Cup of Na­tions in 1996. We will cer­tainly miss your in­sight, hu­mil­ity and your sense of hu­mour. I’m sure God will com­fort his fam­ily in this dif­fi­cult pe­riod. You ran you own race Chippa. Your jour­ney was an in­spir­ing one and you will for­ever be in our mem­o­ries. As I said in my open­ing state­ment, a man may come and man may go but the foot­print left by them shall never be washed away by rain.

Lala ngokuthula Chippa!

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