“He was easy to get along with, and he was most respected at the club as a person,” says Lucas Radebe about Phil Masinga at Leeds United. Photo: BackpagePix

Lucas Radebe has paid tribute to the man “everybody loved” after former Leeds and South Africa striker Phil Masinga died on Sunday following a battle with cancer, aged 49.

Radebe and Masinga joined Leeds together in 1994, from South African clubs Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs respectively.

“Phil was a big hit with the team and the players,” said Radebe, recalling their time at Elland Road.

“I looked up to him, and I think he inspired me the most. It was absolutely great the way he adapted to the situation.

“He was easy to get along with, and he was most respected at the club as a person.”

Masinga scored five times in 31 appearances for Leeds. He left for Swiss team St Gallen in 1996, and went on to play for Salernitana and Bari in Italy.

Masinga also scored the decisive goal against Congo which sealed South Africa’s qualification for the 1998 World Cup in France.

“Everybody loved him,” added former Leeds captain Radebe. “The fans took him as a hero.”

Daily Mail