Chippa’s feats remembered
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.