Phil Masinga during his playing days for Bafana Bafana. Photo: BackpagePix

SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan has described the late Bafana Bafana legend, Phil Masinga as a rare breed.

"Chippa" as Masinga was popularly known in football circles, died of a cancer-related disease at a Johannesburg hospital on Sunday morning. He was 49.

Masinga was admitted in Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp two months ago before he was transferred to a Johannesburg hospital last month where he was diagnosed with cancer.

“We have lost a giant of South African Football, this is a sad day for our football,” said Jordaan who was the first to break the news of Masinga’s death on Sunday.

The SAFA President visited Masinga with his SAFA National Executive Committee on January 6 before flying out to Dakar, Senegal. He said Masinga didn’t look too well but didn’t expect him to ‘leave us so soon.”

“I am really gutted. I saw him last Sunday before I flew to Dakar and although he was not feeling well, he was in good spirits and I promised to visit him again sometime this week and now our hero is gone,” added a sombre Dr Jordaan.

“Phil was a loyal servant of the game, on and off the field of play. His goal against Congo which took us (South Africa) to our first World Cup in France in 1998, is still the most celebrated goal in the country to date,” he said.

Jordaan said Masinga was an active member of the South African Masters & Legends an affiliate of SAFA adding Chippa never missed any of SAFA meetings.

The late Masinga was born on 28 June 1969 in Klerksdorp in the North West and played among other clubs Jomo Cosmos, Leeds United in England together with Lucas Radebe, Saint Galliens in Switzerland as well as FC Bari in Italy and Salernitana.

Leeds United tweeted soon after the passing on of the football legend: “It is with great sadness that the club has learnt of former striker Phil Masinga’s passing. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends.”

CAF deputy secretary general, Anthony Baffoe wrote: “We have lost another hero in Phil Masinga. May his soul rest in peace.”