Jomo Cosmos boss, Jomo Sono says the death of Philemon “Chippa” Masinga was a big blow to South African football as the Bafana Bafana and Jomo Cosmos legend was not able to impart all he gained from football.
“His passing was indeed a great loss to us as a nation because he died at such a young age and did not have sufficient time to impart his vast knowledge of football South Africans,” said Sono while speaking on Talk Radio 702 FM.
The South African football family is still mourning the passing of Masinga, a member of the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations winning squad.
Masinga, who was recently hospitalised following an illness, was reportedly on his way to recovery, but the South African Football Association (Safa) announced on Sunday that the former Mamelodi Sundowns striker has passed away.
Masinga was hospitalized in December last year after suffering from an ‘undisclosed illness’, and was reportedly recovering at the Tshepong Hospital but was reportedly later moved to Parktown in Johannesburg.
‘Chippa’ was one of the most influential figures in South African football as he helped take the national team to dizzy heights during his time as a player.
The former Jomo Cosmos hitman represented the 1996 African champions for more than 50 times and netted 18 goals, he was a key player for coach Clive Barker’s squad in 1996 where they lifted the Caf Africa Cup of Nations trophy on home soil.
He also played for European clubs such as Leeds United in England, St. Gallen in Switzerland, Bari and Salernitana in the Italian Serie A, as well as Al-Wahda in Abu Dhabi before retiring in 2002.
With tributes pouring in from family, friends, Safa, supporters and former clubs such as Leeds, the details of his funeral are yet to be announced.
Born in Klerksdorp in the North West province, Masinga passed away at the age of 49 and will be remembered most fondly by the crucial goal which he scored for Bafana in 1997.
The lanky forward netted against Congo Brazzaville at the FNB Stadium, a goal which ensured the South Africans booked their ticket to the 1998 Fifa World Cup, which was staged in France.
-Mark Ogagan, Additional reports from Goal.Com