8 January 2021 – Condolences continue to pour in for respected former referee and Match Commissioner, Philemon Masemola who passed away on Tuesday, 5 January 2021.
Several colleagues have expressed their shock at the passing of “Bra Phil” , as Masemola was popularly known in football circles.
Here is what some of the late Masemola’s colleagues and friends had to say about his untimely death.
Mark Lindon: Chairperson of Examinations Board & current Match Commissioner
Bra Phil was a gentleman of the highest order who was quiet and gentle. He was passionate about his refereeing and as a mentor he cared for those who looked up to him – he was a ‘father figure’ to us all.
He was not loud nor outspoken but when he did talk, he did so with authority. He was knowledgeable and an honest person.
Bra Phil was a well-respected, humble gentleman, and we were blessed to have him as part of our refereeing fraternity for so many years. Rest in peace Bra Phil, you will be fondly remembered by all who had the honour of knowing you as a friend and colleague.
Stan Swart: Retired Referee and Match Commissioner
It is with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of a friend and fellow official Phil Masemola. I met Phil when I started refereeing in the old NPSL and we went through good and not so good times together. From the day I met him I knew I was in the company of an out and out gentleman.
After we retired from refereeing, Phil and I were part of the very first 12 commissioners who were invited by the PSL to oversee matches.
Phil was a person of very few words but he was a great listener and always had time for everyone. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family at this very trying time. Phil will be missed and may his dear soul rest in peace.
Simon Didiza Ngutshana: Review Committee Chairperson and former Assistant Referee
Mr Phillip Masemola played football and thereafter he got hooked into refereeing. After he finished active refereeing, he became part of the executive of Referees Association of South Africa (RASA), where he was part of the training unit together with Mr Roger Stonehouse. He was very passionate about training and development of referees in the country. This included the professionalization of refereeing in South Africa.
He truly believed that all referees, black and white are afforded the same opportunities as far as training, development and advancement of their refereeing careers are concerned.
He was part of the instructors who went through the length and breadth of South Africa under the Toyota Development Programme, training referees as well as identifying potential talent. He was also part of the sting operations that were there to root out corruption by appointing lesser known referees during playoffs. It was during these operations that the likes of Jerome Damon (through Ashref Parker); Lwandile Mfiki, Abdul Ebrahim, Paulo Marques, Jerry Ngwenya and many more were discovered and nurtured in their refereeing careers.
When the PSL was formed in 1996, Mr Masemola was instrumental in the formation of match inspectors (match commissioners) in the country, where he became part of the first 12 match inspectors in the country.
He was also part of the referee’s technical committee, together with Steve Goddard, Andy Bennett, Matea, Madonsela under the chairmanship of Mr Zakhele Ndaba of which he was the deputy chairman.
He later became the chairman of the technical Committee during 2001. He also served in various subcommittees, like appointment Committee with Mr Matea, being responsible for PSL and First Division and later for ABC Motsepe with the late Ian McCloud. The last subcommittee that he served before he finally retired was the Review Committee up until 2018.
Lastly he was the honorary chairman of referee’s committee in Mamelodi Local Football Association.
Jerome Damon: FIFA Referees Development Officer (Africa), Chairperson of the Technical Committee and Match Commissioner
My first interaction with Bra Phil takes me back to U17 inter provincial held at Wits in 1988. He was one of the referee co-ordinators. He was my first National assessor. His first feedback to me was professional, endearing like a father and thought-provoking. That was his demeanour throughout my career. The circle was completed in 2013 when I was fortunate to have him as my assessor on the last game I officiated in the PSL. His manner had not changed. But the relationship had. Bra Phil had moved from Assessor, to mentor, to father. I called him that often, and he would modestly smile and say: “ok my son” and after that last game he said: “well done, again, my son. What a wonderful career…”
I can never express my deepest gratitude I have for his family for sharing him with all of us. I would not have been completed if it were not for Phil Masemola. Many of us would not have been. Bra Phil, the gentle giant of refereeing, has left his earthly home to walk amongst angels, an elevation to a place he deserves.
Victor Hlungwani: National Panel Referee
We can no longer see you in our eyes but we will feel you in our hearts forever. You mentored many referees and match Commissioners in our country and great servant of South African Football Association. We will always remember your wise words, “The food you consume will work against you in the fitness test. I saw a mountain of food in the restaurant, gentleman be careful of what you eat”. You prayed for us in our workshops to remind us that God is our saviour and guidance. We will miss you and may your soul rest in eternal peace.
Message from the Referee’s Department
Bra Phil Masemola (as we all knew him) – a friend, colleague, teacher, technical instructor, mentor, husband, father, and son. In whatever role we knew him, from whatever vantage point, he stood apart as someone very special!
Mr Masemola’s contributions over the many years to the ongoing development of refereeing at every level in South Africa, were powerful and his work ethic was beyond remarkable.
Energy, commitment, integrity are all words that begin to capture our image of Mr Masemola.
I wish that we had many more people like him. But he was one of a kind and will be sorely missed as a colleague, friend and mentor by the entire refereeing fraternity. Never will he be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to have known him!
May your kind and gentle soul rest in peace Sir.
For further information please contact
SAFA: Head of Communications
Mobile: +27 71 332 9886