The South African soccer family is in mourning following the passing on of former Bafana Bafana coach April “Styles” Phumo, according to the Sowetan.
The man who was popularly known as “Bra Styles” died just after 11:00 on Sunday of cancer at a private hospital, said daughter Olga Phori.
“The passing on of Bra Styles is a big loss to South African football, especially for development,” said former Safa president Molefi Oliphant.
“He was a symbol of humility and technical knowledge. I have known him for decades. The man was passionate about development.
“I still remember when he avoided relegation while he was still coach of Bloemfontein Celtic. They scored after a backpass from Charles Motlohi.
“He was always available to assist, be it at Bafana Bafana, Under-23, Amajita and Banyana Banyana. He loved his football,” said Oliphant.
“One of my greatest memories with him was in 2002 when Bafana Bafana won a bronze medal at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana and Nigeria.
“He was working closely with head coach Trott Moloto,’ said Oliphant.
Safa technical director Serame Letsoaka, who worked closely with Phumo for more than two decades, is equally devastated.
“I have known Bra Styles for many years. He was my role model. I know he has not been well for sometime, but his death comes as a big shock.
“I learnt many things about coaching from Bra Styles, he was not a selfish man. He was like a moving library of our football.”
Safa deputy president Danny Jordaan said: “Styles was a gentleman coach. He was one person who was dedicated to football.
“He also wanted to develop coaches, and worked with Horst Kriete when they were drawing up the coaches’ education programme.
“The game has lost a dedicated servant.”
Premier Soccer League have also sent their condolences to the Phumo family through chairman Irvin Khoza.
Khoza described Phumo as one of the most knowledgeable coaches, especially at developmental level. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.