Tributes pour in for Masinga

2013-11-16 16:15
Bennett Masinga (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Lethal on the pitch, likeable and loved off it, tributes have poured in for Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns soccer legend Bennett Masinga after he died in his sleep, at the age of 48, on Thursday night.

Diminutive and slightly built, but misleadingly potent as a consistent goalscorer in the mould of Liverpool's Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen, he was aptly described as "the trigger that finished off the job for the highly skilled, trophy-winning Sundowns combination of the late 1980s and early 1990s."

Off the pitch, there was no more popular player among his peers and supporters alike than the striker from Klerksdorp who was nicknamed "Bennito".

Related to leading Bafana striker Phil Masinga, the cousins once shared the goals in a 2-2 draw against Cameroon in 1992, shortly after the return of South Africa to the international soccer fold following the dismantling of apartheid.

"I worshipped him," said Phil Masinga, four years Bennito's junior and the scorer of the legendary goal which earned Bafana a place in the 1998 World Cup finals.

"I used to carry his boots and kit to games when I was a youngster in my teens. He was my hero, a better player than me. That's for sure."

Zane Moosa, another of Masinga's notable team-mates at Sundowns and a PSL Footballer of the Year, said he was extremely upset by the news.

"What a way to spend a week-end," Moosa said.

"To be crushed by the news of Bennett's death at the relatively tender age of 48. I am devastated."

Former Sundowns captain Mike Nthombela, said Masinga was a vital influence in what was arguably the club's greatest combination.

"But what a nice guy as well," said Nthombela.

"I never heard anyone say a bad word about him, or remember Bennito committing a single bad foul on the pitch."

Phil Masinga said the family would issue a statement regarding the death of his cousin in Stilfontein, near the place he was born - and reveal the funeral details at the same time.

Friends, fans and family of Bennett Masinga are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  soccer

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