Philemon Raul Masinga was born 28 June 1969; he was a South African professional footballer and manager who played as a striker from 1990 to 2002.
He played in the English Premier League for Leeds United and Italian Serie A for Salernitana and Bari. He also played for Jomo Cosmos, Mamelodi Sundowns with his cousin Bennett Masinga, St. Gallen and Al-Wahda. He represented South Africa in 58 international games, scoring 18 goals. In 2006, he briefly went into football management with PJ Stars.
He made his debut for Jomo Cosmos in 1990, before moving on to Mamelodi Sundowns. In 1994 he left for English Premier League club Leeds United; the deal that his agent Marcelo Houseman did with Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson also involved Lucas Radebe moving to Leeds from Kaizer Chiefs.
He played in the English Premier League for two years, playing 31 games and scoring five goals, and also scored a hat-trick in a FA Cup tie against Walsall on 17 January 1995.
Masinga moved to Switzerland with St. Gallen in 1996, followed by spells in Italy with Salernitana and Bari. In 2001, he returns to English Football with Coventry City fell through after he failed to secure a work permit, following which he moved to Al Wahda FC in Abu Dhabi where he completed his playing career.
Masinga made his international debut in July 1992 against Cameroon; this was South Africa’s first match following the end of apartheid and the readmission of the country to international football.
In an African Cup of Nations qualifier versus Zambia in 1992, Masinga became the first South African ever to be sent off in an international match.
He was in the Bafana Bafana side when South Africa won the African Cup of Nations in 1996 and when they finished second to Egypt in the 1998 African Cup of Nations.”Chippa”, as he was affectionately known, scored the decisive goal in the 1997 game against the Republic of the Congo that took South Africa to the 1998 World Cup in France. He played 58 games for his country, scoring 18 goals.
Masinga lost his battle with cancer and dies on the 13 January 2019 at aged 49.
According to Radebe, speaking to BBC World Service he said:
“For us, as Africans, it was a great experience; 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.
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.