Philemon Masinga or ‘Chippa’ as he is affectionately known by thousands of soccer lovers was born on 28 June 1969 in Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal (North-West Province). At primary school level he showed the skills of a good soccer player.
Masinga attended coaching clinics by legendary player Jomo Sono and was recruited to his team, Jomo Midas Cosmos. In 1992 Masinga represented South Africa in the first international game against Cameroon in Durban. The Pretoria team Mamelodi Sundowns bought him from Cosmos and he played for them for years before leaving the country. Leeds United attracted Masinga to England with £275 000 and for two years he was involved in 39 games for Leeds. “Waltzin’ Masinga” as Leeds fans nicknamed him, scored 11 goals in this time but management was concerned and in 1996 sold him to the Swiss team Saint Gallen, where Masinga featured in ten games. In October that year he was signed by the Italian Serie B team, Salernitana. Here Masinga was a prolific goal scorer and good team player, and before long he joined Bari, a Series A team.
In 1996 Masinga was in the Bafana Bafana side (South African National Soccer Team) when it won the African Cup of Nations final. He had also been in the South African team that finished second to Egypt in the 1988 African Cup of Nations held in Burkino Faso. ‘Chippa’ scored the goal in the 1997 game against Congo that proved decisive as it took Bafana Bafana to the 1998 World Cup in France.
Masinga created an uproar within the soccer fraternity when he criticised the leadership skills of team captain Lucas Radebe, his former teammate at Leeds United. Most of his teammates at the World Cup blamed him for using the media for launching a personal attack on Radebe, whose performance was praised by players of the calibre of Doctor Khumalo, Mark Fish, Helman Mkhalele and Jerry Sikosana. He had represented South Africa in 58 international games scoring 18 goals. In 2003 he was named one of the South Africa Bid 2010 ambassadors and was present in Zurich, Switzerland on 15 May 2004 when South Africa was awarded host status for the 2010 World Cup Tournament. South African soccer fans are faithful to him and he has a considerable following, being widely regarded as one of the best South African strikers of all time.
Masinga is married to Carol and they have two children, Sifiso and Teneko. His home is in Klerksdorp but he is based mostly in Gauteng. On 12 January 2019, Masinga died in a Johannesburg hospital after a long battle with cancer.