Phil had BMT and was not easily shaken, says Jomo
“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, pictured, 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 then it is (a) sign that you won’t stay long,” Sono said.“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 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.”
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,” Sono said.
“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.”
Masinga also made his name in Europe playing for teams like Leeds United (England), St Gallen (Switzerland), Salernitana and Bari (both Italy). He also had a successful stint with Mamelodi Sundowns.
“Phil had 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 political because I was outspoken. When they left Cosmos, they were never booed. It was my players, but Masinga was never shaken by that. He was strong mentally, “Sono said.
Masinga died as an active member of SA Masters and Legends.
“I think it will take us time to produce strikers like Phil, Shaun Bartlett and Benni McCarthy. What a player,” Sono said.
“He was always hungry to score goals. His presence was very intimidating.”
Masinga is fifth on the list of alltime 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,” Sono said.
“I shared a lot with Phil. It is so unfortunate to lose him at the very young age. He was my son.”