The man who was popularly known as “Bra Styles” died just after 11am yesterday 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, worked with Horst Kriete when they were drawing up the coaches’ education programme. “The game has lost a dedicated servant.”
Atlie FC caretaker coach Sello Chokoe said: “He was working with us when we started preparing for the new season, you could see he was not well. “The man was knowledgeable when it comes to soccer in South Africa and Lesotho. We have lost a great soldier of South African soccer. “Our condolences to his family and friends. We will always remember him for his passion for development soccer.”
Premier Soccer League have also sent their condolences to the Phumo family through chairman Irvin Khoza.
Khoza described Phumo as one of the most knowledgable coaches, especially at developmental level. Funeral arrangements have not been finalised.