Phil Masinga, the former South Africa and Leeds United striker who scored the goal that took his country to the World Cup for the first time, has died at the age of 49.

The South African Football Association says Masinga died Sunday in a Johannesburg hospital from a “cancer related disease.” SAFA says Masinga was diagnosed with cancer just last month when he was transferred from a hospital in his home town of Klerksdorp to the hospital in Johannesburg.

Masinga also played in Switzerland, Italy and the United Arab Emirates in his 12-year professional career.

He played 58 times for South Africa but is best remembered for the fierce long-range strike against Republic of Congo at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg in 1997 that saw Bafana Bafana, then the champions of Africa, qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France.

It sparked joyous scenes in South Africa, a country still basking in the afterglow of the fall of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela as president three years earlier.


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