Although he says they were not really close as friends, ex-Bafana Bafana midfielder Eric Tinkler has also paid tribute to the fallen striker, Philemon Masinga.
Tinkler suggests that the late striker deserves legendary status because he gave his best for the country and his overseas career says a lot about the former Jomo Cosmos star’s quality.
“Yes it's very sad for the country, his family and the entire football fraternity. I also wish to send my condolences to his family,” Tinkler told Goal.
“I am obviously gutted by the news of his passing because he is just a year older than me. That is not great news to hear – it’s really sad because he was still young,” he said.
“He is a true legend of the game because of his role in the national team in 1996 and beyond. He had an esteemed career in Europe where he played in England and in the Serie A in Italy,” added the former Bafana midfielder.
“He will definitely be sorely missed. We had a good and talented squad in 1996 and these are the guys like Phil who made us win things and games,” he continued.
“He worked hard and I remember Phil not only as a striker but as a technically gifted player, aerially he was phenomenal and that is evident through the type of career he had overseas,” said the former Chippa United boss.
“It’s just sad for me to notice that we recognize people as legends only after their passing. I think we must celebrate people when they are still alive,” Tinkler continued.
“We know the situation, he survived because of economic issues and I think it’s partly because of such reasons he was not well,” he responded.
“I just wish that something could have been done because he was still young. He served the nation well and he didn’t deserve to suffer – it’s really sad,” expressed the 48-year-old.
“Yeah, look I remember Phil as a happy man, teammate, brother and he lived a good life and worked hard in training,” continued Tinkler.
“He enjoyed his life like he did with his football. We were not close friends, but I know he was friends with Doctor and Lucas (Radebe),” said the coach.
“But we got along very well whenever we were called up for national team duty and he gave 100% for the team and that was very important. He is someone who gave more effort on his work and that is why he was successful as a footballer,” he concluded.