SA soc­cer salutes fallen star Masinga

The Star Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MIHLALI BALEKA AND MINENHLE MKHIZE See Sport

“THE death of Phil Masinga means we have lost a giant of South African foot­ball.”

That was the re­ac­tion from soc­cer boss Danny Jor­daan as he joined the many trib­utes that poured in for Masinga, the leg­endary Bafana Bafana striker, who died yes­ter­day aged 49.

Masinga had been ill for some time but his death still came as a big shock to the coun­try’s foot­ball fam­ily.

Masinga played 58 matches for the na­tional team and will al­ways be trea­sured for scor­ing the goal against Congo in 1997 that se­cured South Africa’s first World Cup ap­pear­ance in 1998.

Jor­daan said: “I am really gut­ted. I saw him last Sun­day be­fore I flew to Dakar. Although he was not feel­ing well, he was in good spir­its and I promised to visit him again this week – and now our hero is gone.

“Phil was a loyal ser­vant of the game on and off the field. 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.”

Doc­tor Khu­malo, him­self a leg­end in the Bafana shirt, was stunned over Masinga’s pass­ing. “It’s a sad mo­ment for South Africa foot­ball and through­out the world be­cause he was in­ter­na­tion­ally known. I’d like to thank the Masinga fam­ily for giv­ing us the op­por­tu­nity to be around Chippa.

“To me, es­pe­cially, he might have made me who I am to­day. 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.”

For­mer Bafana cap­tain Lu­cas Radebe, who shared many glo­ri­ous mo­ments with Masinga for South Africa and English Premier­ship team Leeds United, said Masinga had “rare qual­i­ties.”

“It is a great loss to South African foot­ball. He made an im­pact wher­ever he was. He was very straight-for­ward. He al­ways said what he felt. When we needed him, he de­liv­ered.

© DUIF DU TOIT

PHIL Masinga cel­e­brates after scor­ing the win­ning goal in South Africa’s 2-1 vic­tory over the DRC in Togo in 1997. | Touch­line Photo

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