Phil Masinga dies

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

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.

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