Phil Masinga has died. He played in the Premier League for the Yorkshire club for two years between 1994 and 1996 after joining from Mamelodi Sundowns, who play in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League.
Championship side Leeds revealed the news on Sunday morning, writing on Twitter: ‘It is with great sadness that the club has learnt of former striker Phil Masinga’s passing. The thoughts of everyone at #LUFC are with his family and friends.’
Leeds manager at the time Howard Wilkinson signed Masinga and countryman Lucas Radebe. Masinga joined Swiss side St Gallen in 1996 and later moved to Italian sides Salernitana and Bari.
Masinga started his career at South African outfit Jomo Cosmos in 1990 and hung up his boots 12 years later while playing for Abu Dhabi side Al-Wahda.
He won 58 caps and scored 18 goals for his country, including the memorable strike against Congo that sent South Africa to the 1998 World Cup for the first time.
Masinga was also a part of the South African side that lifted the African Nations Cup on home soil in 1996.
Tributes have poured in for the ex-Leeds forward, who notched five goals in 31 league matches for the club.
‘He is gone. Our legend is gone…….It is not right,’ Buddha Mathathe, South African Masters and Legend Football Association told TimesLIVE.
‘It is such tragic loss for the family and for the entire country.’He is no ordinary legend, he was an international legend.’
‘Sad day for South African football. A loyal servant of the game, on and off the field of play,’ South African Football Association president Dr Danny Jordaan said in a statement on Twitter.
Masinga’s former team-mate at Elland Road Noel Whelan wrote on Twitter: ‘Really sad news to learn that a guy I spent so much time with, laughs and games together has passed away, he was not just a friend and strike partner but one of the nicest kindest guys I’ve met, was a pleasure and privilege to have know and played with you phil, always in my heart.’
While the official Twitter account for the South African national team wrote: ‘@BafanaBafana legend Phil Masinga has passed on. MHSRIP.’