Cape Town – South African soccer legend Jomo Sono recalls the first day he saw Phil 'Chippa' Masinga play before he signed for Jomo Cosmos.
READ: 'Chippa' Masinga's cause of death confirmed
On Sunday, the 49-year-old Masinga died of cancer after previously being admitted to hospital.
Early last month, Masinga was admitted to Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp with an "undisclosed illness" and then later moved to a hospital in Parktown.
Further efforts were made to get the former striker to a private hospital in order for him to get the best medical care.
Masinga was the third player Sono recruited to have passed away.
Sizwe Motaung passed away of an AIDS-related disease in 2001 while Thomas Madigage died in a car crash after hitting a donkey crossing the road in 2012.
WATCH: 'Chippa' Masinga's goal that sent Bafana to 1998 SWC
"I, as a person, discovered all three players,” said Sono in an interview on the 702 radio station.
"It’s a big loss, they lived in the house where I brought them from - wherever they were coming from - they stayed with me for quite some time.
"They then moved to their rooms in Soweto, we didn’t have flats by then, we had rooms.
"And I took them to school, the club paid for their schooling, and I feel very, very sad and helpless (at the passing of Masinga).
"To them, I was not (just) a coach - I was a coach, a father and a friend."
SEE: The day 'Chippa' Masinga scored a 9 minute hat-trick
Sono reminisced on the day he recruited Masinga and revealed the one thing that made him sign the star forward for Cosmos at the time.
"I saw him at a tournament in Stilfontein, he was playing, he wasn’t very small... if you had to put him on a scale, he was just so skinny,” the 63-year-old said.
"After the game I took about three players there, it was Masinga, Vilakazi and Eric September. I took those three players."
Sono added: "At his age and weight, he was very brave, skilful and for his height, normally these tall guys don’t have skill, they’re only good in the air.
"Masinga was good at both. On the ground and in the air. That’s what made me take a look at him."
In 1990, Masinga went on to sign for Cosmos and made more than 80 appearances for the Johannesburg outfit before switching to Mamelodi Sundowns.
It was at the Brazilians where he shot to prominence with his 108 appearances and 98 goals for the Chloorkop side.
He soon signed for Leeds United in 1994 before playing in Switzerland, Italy and Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, Masinga’s funeral details are yet to be confirmed.