Phil Masinga dies
JOHANNESBURG. — Former Leeds United and South African soccer star Phil “Chippa” Masinga has died, aged 49.
The South African international striker spent two years at Elland Road, but passed away after a long illness.
Buddha Mathathe‚ the president of the South African Masters and Legend Football Association‚ said Masinga passed away at a Parktown hospital yesterday morning after a long illness.
“He is gone. Our legend is gone . . . It is not right‚” said an emotional Mathathe yesterday morning.
“It is such tragic loss for the family and for the entire country.
“He is no ordinary legend‚ he was an international legend.”
“Sad day for South African football,” said South Africa Football Association president Danny Jordaan.
“A loyal servant of the game, on and off the field of play.”
Masinga was admitted into Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp last month and then later moved to Parktown.
The lanky 49-year old earned more than 50 caps for Bafana and it was his scintillating goal from 30 yards against Congo that got SA to a maiden appearance at the World Cup in 1998.
Masinga, who played in England‚ Switzerland‚ Italy‚ Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Leeds United‚ Jomo Cosmos‚ among many others‚ was also part of the Bafana squad that won the African Cup of Nations in 1996.
Masinga was a huge name in South African football after becoming one of the first players to establish himself in the top leagues in Europe.
Aside from playing for Leeds, he also spent four years in Serie A with Salernitana and Bari.
The forward arrived at Elland Road in 1994, in a deal which also saw club legend Lucas Radebe move to Yorkshire.
Though he failed to make the same long-lasting impact in England, he did make 31 Premier League appearances for the club scoring five goals.
He also managed to net a hat-trick in an FA Cup clash with Walsall in 1995.
“It is with great sadness that the club has learnt of former striker Phil Masinga’s passing,” said a statement from the Elland Road club.
“The thoughts of everyone at LUFC are with his family and friends.”
Masinga was a key part of the Bafana Bafana side which won the African Cup of Nations in 1996, and which finished runners-up two years later. — AFP.