Skinny, tall, quick and could score goals: Chippa remembered in hometown of Khuma

2019-01-22 17:24
Phil Masinga. (Gallo)

Phil Masinga. (Gallo)

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"Asiphelelanga ku shota u Chippa" (we are not complete, Chippa is missing) rang out across the Khuma Stadium in Stilfontein in the North West as fans, friends and family came to remember the late Bafana Bafana star, Philemon Raul "Chippa" Masinga at a memorial service on Tuesday. 

Khuma is where the 49-year-old soccer star was born in 1969 and raised before moving to greener pastures in Gauteng, and then overseas.

The dusty streets of the township were abuzz as young and old made their way to the stadium, hoping for a space to sit and listen to speakers praising Masinga for his contribution to South African football.

Some were dressed in their favourite soccer team's shirts, while others wore shirts emblazoned in political party insignia.

READ: Lots of Chippas but only one Masinga 

Mamelodi Sundowns official Alex Shakoane reiterated that former football stars should look after themselves and their finances.

"To our legends, please love your families like Masinga did. Love yourselves, look after yourselves, save your money and lastly, drink less alcohol," he said.

He said that Sundowns had pledged money to Masinga’s family when he was hospitalised, after being diagnosed with cancer in December 

"That money that we promised to pledge to Masinga’s family, we won’t take it back because he is no more. The money will be used by his family.

"As Mamelodi Sundowns, we are going to ensure that Masinga’s three young children are educated and will do so through our school foundations set by our president Patrice Motsepe," he said.

Rare talent

Shakoane added that Masinga had a rare talent.

"Everyone who discovers their talent dominates. There are many players in the world. But, there are few in the world who discover their talent and are prosperous."

Shakoane said Masinga looked ordinary, but had a gift and God had helped him discover his talent.

READ: Lucas Radebe breaks down in tears at Masinga memorial service

Former teammate Eric September said he and Masinga had formed a deadly combination while playing for both Jomo Cosmos and Sundowns.

September said he was the one who recruited Masinga to Cosmos.

"He was skinny, tall, quick and could score goals. When I recruited him, I believed in him that he would deliver. We shared wonderful memories together from our young ages here in Khuma where we grew up together.

"I can’t believe he is no more. His career in soccer was short-lived. I am hurt. I feel that a part of my body has been taken away. This pain inside me has taught me that the grave has no age. However, I am happy that I have taken the best decision by putting my trust in him when I recruited him to play professional soccer," he said.

Memorable goals

Speakers praised the memorable goals that Masinga scored for the country, especially the one that took Bafana Bafana to the World Cup in France in 1998.

Motsweding FM DJ Oshebeng Keonyaditse said Masinga was the first player to score a goal for the country in an official match outside the country's borders.

"On January 13, 1996, in the 13th minute, Masinga scored the first goal for Bafana during the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament and, coincidentally, on January 13, 2019, he lost his life. Masinga scored a goal against Madagascar in 1995 during the Afcon qualifiers. That was the first time Madagascar lost a game at home in 10 years," said Keonyaditse.

READ: Late Masinga to be given official provincial funeral

Masinga started his professional career at Jomo Cosmos in 1990, joined Sundowns in 1991 and then jetted to England in 1994 to join Leeds United for two years.

In 1996, he joined St Gallen in Switzerland and the following year he played for Salernitana in Italy. Between 1997 and 2001, he played for Bari in Italy and between 2001 and 2002 he played for Al-Wahda in the UAE.

He played for Bafana 58 times and scored 18 goals. In his football career, Masinga scored 154 goals. 

Masinga will be given an official provincial funeral in Khuma on Thursday.

He is survived by his wife Ntombi Nombewu and four children.

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