Bafana Bafana

Radebe: Phil Masinga inspired me the most

Phil Masinga (Twitter)
Phil Masinga (Twitter)

Cape Town - Former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe has led the tributes to his former Leeds United team-mate, and South African soccer legend Phil Masinga, following his death aged 49.

Masinga lost his battle with cancer on Saturday, leaving the nation reeling at his untimely passing.

The two were both signed by Leeds United in 1994 and spent two years together in England's top-flight, before the striker made a switch to St Gallen in Switzerland.

"He lost his fight against cancer this morning which is very, very sad for us as a football fraternity," said Radebe.

"We are mourning the loss of a great legend."

Masinga made his debut for South Africa in July 1992 against Cameroon in South Africa's first match following their readmission to international football by FIFA after the end of apartheid.

"For us as Africans it was a great experience," added Radebe, speaking to BBC World Service.

"We weren't used to the weather and we struggled a little bit - we kept each other warm at times.

"Phil was a big hit with the team and the players. 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 will be best remembered for his goal against Congo which ensured Bafana Bafana qualified for their first Soccer World Cup in 1998.

"Very sad news for South African football. We lost a true football legend in Phil 'Chippa' Masinga," said former Bafana Bafana and Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar.

"He paved the way for all South African footballers in the UK. That goal at FNB stadium that took us to our first World Cup will always be on my mind. RIP Legend."

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