Phil Jones Setshedi, a former player, coach and manager of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana, passed away on October 19, 2023 at the age of 67.
He was a respected figure in the South African football scene, but he also faced some controversies in his career.
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He was convicted of corruption and match-fixing in 2013 and sentenced to eight years in prison12.
A Glowing Playing Career
Setshedi was born in Dube, Soweto, and started off playing street soccer using a tennis ball like any other youngster in the black community at the time.
He later joined Alexandra United and then moved into top flight soccer after being recruited by Moroka Swallows Babes.
He then joined Orlando Pirates, where he became a sturdy defender and a player-coach.
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He led the Buccaneers to a 16-match unbeaten streak in 1980, which culminated in winning the Mainstay Cup by beating Swallows 3-2 in one of the most memorable cup finals.
The record stood for over 20 years and was only broken by Pirates in 2005, when Setshedi was the team manager.
A Successful National Team Staff
Setshedi was also part of the Bafana Bafana staff that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 and qualified for the World Cup in 1998.
He was the assistant coach of Clive Barker, who praised him for his contribution and enthusiasm.
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He also worked with former captains Neil Tovey and David Nyathi, who spoke glowingly of him as a father figure and a mentor5.
A Controversial End
However, Setshedi’s reputation was tarnished by some scandals that dogged him in the aftermath of his playing career.
He was involved in a dispute with John “Shoes” Moshoeu, Donald “Ace” Khuse and Steve Komphela over $51 000 that they had given to him for safekeeping and that disappeared at a Sandton hotel where the team was staying.
He was ordered by the court to repay Moshoeu R200 000 in instalments.
He was also arrested in 2011 after a sting operation by Cape Town police for attempting to unduly and improperly influence the outcome of a promotion play-offs match in the second tier league12.
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He was found guilty of contravening section 15 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 and sentenced to eight years in prison, of which he served three years.
A Legacy Remembered
Despite his fall from grace, Setshedi will be remembered by many as a hero of South African football who achieved great feats on and off the field.
☠️ @orlandopirates is saddened by the passing of Legend, Phil Jones Setshedi.
On behalf of the extended @orlandopirates family, we convey our heartfelt and deepest sympathy to the Setshedi family.
Rest In Peace, Bra Phil.
— Orlando Pirates (@orlandopirates) October 19, 2023
He was one of the pioneers of the game in the country and inspired generations of players and coaches.
He leaves behind a legacy that will be cherished by his family, friends and fans. May his soul rest in peace.