Ricky Phuka dies destitute

According to a report in Malawi’s Nyasa Times, Phuka, who played for top South African clubs Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and African Wanderers, died in his sleep in Hammersdale after a short illness. He was 47.

“No-one knows how to contact his family in Malawi to let them know of his passing, let alone make funeral arrangements,” the report states.

Phuka, who was unemployed and depended on handouts from neighbours, bought the house while he was still playing for [African] Wanderers in the mid-1990s.

The report said his neighours were in quandary about the funeral arrangements.

“The biggest problem is that he did not have an ID and without one we can’t get his death certificate in order to bury him,” the report quoted South Africa’s ruling ANC activist in the area Skhumbuzo Madlala, who knew Phuka.

Phuka came to South Africa in 1985 to play for Chiefs from the MTL Wanderers in Malawi. He spent two seasons with Chiefs before joining Gauteng’s Giant Blackpool where he played alongside players like John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu, Geelbooi ‘Goma Goma’ Masango, Jerry ‘Legs of Thunder’ Skosana and Jury Bantwana.

He also played for Bush Bucks with Professor Ngubane, who is now the head coach of Thanda Royal Zulu, Calvin Petersen and his countryman Bennet Gongwe.