THE South African Football Association (SAFA) is mourning the passing away of former Bafana Bafana head coach April “Styles” Phumo. The Lesotho-born Phumo succumbed to cancer on Sunday morning. He was 74 years old.
“This is a difficult time for his family and friends, and as the Football Association we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to all all of them at this hour of need. Phumo was one of the best coaches ever to set foot in this country, and was a great educator, very passionate about the game. At his age he was still active in coaching, and he will be dearly missed. The sport has lost a great gentleman and an asset. May his soul rest in peace,” said SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani.
Styles was the first coach of the Senior Men’s National Team of Lesotho before moving to South Africa where he started his coaching career with Bloemfontein Celtic.
He has also coached Ria Stars, the South African Under 20 and 23 Men’s National Teams. He also had a stint with Banyana Banyana.
In 2002 he was in charge of Bafana Bafana at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Tunisia. He then became assistant to head coach Trott Moloto in the following edition of the competition in Nigeria in 2002.
He has also coached National First Division side United FC, before moving to Atlie FC in the same division.
Funeral arrangements are still being organise
Meanwhile FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter has also written to the South African Football Association to express his sadness at the death of former national team coach April Phumo, who passed away in hospital yesterday following a battle with cancer.
Blatter wrote: “Personally, and on behalf of FIFA, I would like to extend sincerest condolences to his friends and family and the footballing communities in South Africa and Lesotho. Our thoughts and sympathy are with you at this time of sadness.
“He will be remembered for his dedication to both the men’s and the women’s game, particularly youth development which is so important for bringing through the players of tomorrow, and his experience, knowledge and passion for the game will be sorely missed.”