Phil Masinga, 49; led South Africa to World Cup en­try

Pawtucket Times - - REGION/OBITUARIES - By GER­ALD IMRAY

Phil Masinga, the for­mer South Africa and Leeds United striker who scored the goal that took his coun­try to the World Cup for the first time, died Sun­day. He was 49.

The South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion said Masinga died in a Jo­han­nes­burg hospi­tal from a “can­cer re­lated dis­ease” just a month af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed.

He was trans­ferred last month from a hospi­tal in his home town of Klerks­dorp to the hospi­tal in Jo­han­nes­burg, SAFA said.

Masinga made 58 ap­pear­ances for South Africa but is best re­mem­bered for the fierce long-range strike against Repub­lic of Congo at FNB Sta­dium in Jo­han­nes­burg in 1997 that saw Bafana Bafana, then the cham­pi­ons of Africa, qual­ify for the 1998 World Cup in France.

It sparked joy­ous scenes in South Africa, a coun­try still bask­ing in the af­ter­glow of the fall of apartheid and the elec­tion of Nel­son Man­dela as pres­i­dent three years ear­lier.

At 6-foot-4, Masinga was the cen­ter for­ward for the South African team that won the African Cup of Na­tions in 1996, a multi-racial squad that made South Africans feel good about their soc­cer again af­ter years of iso­la­tion un­der apartheid. He was in the team in 1992 when South Africa played its first game af­ter be­ing al­lowed back into in­ter­na­tional soc­cer.

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