Football fans paid their last respects to the late Bafana Bafana striker Phil Masinga at Khuma stadium in Khuma near Stilfontein on Thursday. Photo: African News Agency/ANA

KHUMA, Stilfontein – Late Bafana Bafana striker Philemon ‘Chippa’ Masinga was a great player and leader, speakers said at his funeral service in Khuma, Stilfontein in North West on Thursday.

Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono said he was not convinced he should sign him when he first saw him in Khuma.

“He was tall and skinny. I asked ‘Gesond’ Vilakazi: Is this the person?” Sono said.

“Barely five minutes later, I apologised to Gesond, I saw a player in Masinga. I asked Gesond to take me to his parents and signed him.

“On his first game at Cosmos – first touch, first goal. I will never forget it,”  Sono said.

He called on the football fraternity to ensure that Masinga’s name was engraved on the wall of fame.

His former teammates and coaches shared their moments with Masinga, and all agreed he was a brilliant player.

“People say Phil is shy, he is very arrogant,” said Mamelodi Sundowns official Alex ‘Goldfingers’ Tshakoane.

“If he did not like something, you will not pursue him. He had a very strong character,” he said.

Football fanatics blew vuvuzelas and sang at the stadium.

Born Philemon Raul Masinga on June 28, 1969 in Khuma, Stilfontein near Klerksdorp, the former Bafana Bafana goal-scorer lost his battle with cancer on January 13 at a Johannesburg hospital. He was 49.

Chippa, as he was affectionately known amongst soccer fans, played for Jomo Cosmos and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, before he went on to play for Leeds United in England for two years.

He featured in 39 games for Leeds, scoring 11 goals.

‘Waltzin’ Masinga’ as Leeds fans nicknamed him, also played for Saint-Gallen in Switzerland, Salernitana and Bari in Italy.

He appeared 58 times for Bafana Bafana and scored 18 goals.

He was given a special provincial funeral.

Football fans paid their last respects to the late Bafana Bafana striker Phil Masinga at Khuma stadium in Khuma near Stilfontein on Thursday. Photo: African News Agency/ANA
Football fans paid their last respects to the late Bafana Bafana striker Phil Masinga at Khuma stadium in Khuma near Stilfontein on Thursday. Photo: African News Agency/ANA

Sport and Recreation Minister Tokazile Xasa said in memory of Masinga, who was also the vice-president of the SA Masters and Legend Football Association, the department will commit to training 100 former professional soccer players to obtain an accredited coaching qualification.

African News Agency (ANA)