Chippa’s feats re­mem­bered

The Citizen (KZN) - - NEWS - Jonty Mark

Phil Masinga, pic­tured, the man whose won­der­ful strike sent Bafana Bafana to the 1998 Fifa World Cup in France, died yes­ter­day at only 49 years of age.

The South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­ton con­firmed his death in a state­ment, with Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jordaan say­ing: “We have lost a gi­ant of South African foot­ball – this is a sad day for our foot­ball.

“I am re­ally gut­ted. I saw him last Sun­day be­fore I flew to Dakar and al­though he was not feel­ing well, he was in good spir­its and I promised to visit him again. Now our hero is gone.

“Phil was a loyal ser­vant of the game. His goal against Congo, which took us (South Africa) to our first World Cup in France in 1998, is still the most cel­e­brated goal in the coun­try to date.”

Masinga was born in Klerks­dorp on June 28, 1969, and started his ca­reer as a striker at Jomo Cos­mos be­fore go­ing to Mamelodi Sun­downs. In 1994, he was signed by Leeds United in Eng­land – the start of a long club ca­reer in Europe, where he also played in Switzer­land for St Gallen and in Italy, briefly with Saler­ni­tana and for four sea­sons with Bari.

“It is with great sad­ness that the club learnt of Phil Masinga’s pass­ing. The thoughts of ev­ery­one at #LUFC are with his fam­ily,” tweeted Leeds United.

Ex-Arse­nal and Eng­land striker Ian Wright tweeted: “Rest in Peace, Phil. We’ll never for­get your goal that took SA to their first World Cup in 1998. A leg­end of SA foot­ball and loved by @LUFC and Sun­downs fans around the world. #RIPPhilMasinga.”

Masinga scored the coun­try’s first goal of the 1996 Africa Cup of Na­tions in a 3-0 win against Cameroon that started the run to their first and only con­ti­nen­tal crown to date. “Chippa”, as he was known, then net­ted four times in qual­i­fy­ing for France 1998, in­clud­ing the win­ner against Congo-Braz­zav­ille on Au­gust 16, 1997 that ul­ti­mately pro­pelled Bafana to its first-ever World Cup fi­nal.

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