Phil Masinga: the South Africa striker who made Premier League history with Leeds | Ed Aarons

By Ed Aarons Phil Masinga, who has died at the age of 49, was the first black South African player to play in the Premier League

Two decades later, Phil Masinga had not forgotten the advice Howard Wilkinson gave him on his first day at Leeds United, in the summer of 1994. “He told me not be scared of anyone,” recalled Masinga when we spoke for the last time at the end of 2015. “Howard said I was as good as everyone else and told me just to do my best because I was capable of being a top player. Gordon Strachan was very friendly and tried hard to make us feel comfortable. He’s the one who helped me open a bank account.”

Born and raised in the township of Khuma, outside Klerksdorp in South Africa’s remote North West Province, Masinga – whose death from cancer at the age of 49 was announced over the weekend – starred as a striker for Jomo Cosmos and Mamelodi Sundowns in his homeland before being brought to Elland Road after turning down Sir Bobby Robson’s overtures at Sporting Lisbon. As part of the £250,000 deal, defender Lucas Radebe also sign for Leeds, although “Chippa” arrived three …read more