Phakathi was laid to rest at Lamontville Cemetery in Durban on Sunday after dying in a car crash in Seven Oak, Greytown a week ago.
The 43-year-old was on his way to training at Umvoti, who he had just coached to ABC Motsepe League honours in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Bheka was one of the young boys who approached my late brother to start a club in Lamontville,” Madlala tells KickOff.com.
“That is the memory I have of Bheka that I’ll never forget. There are things you know and keep to yourself, and you reveal them when it is necessary.
“I don’t think many people know Bheka was one of the founding members of the team. He was the founder player of Arrows when Rocky bought Ntokozo FC. He was one of the players who was there and that is the memory of Bheka I’ll have forever.
“If they didn’t persuade Rocky to buy the status I don’t know if Rocky will have decided to go the route of football or not, and that is the memory of Bheka that I have.”
Phakathi, who held an UEFA B license, started his football career in his hometown of Lamontville with lowly Banana City in 1989.
He went on to play for Malukazi Junior Aces in 1992 before turning out for Gijima Burning Spear in 1994.
He was one of the players who joined Arrows in 1996 when Mato’s brother Mandla Hodges ‘Rocky’ Madlala bought the status of Ntokozo FC. Rocky passed away in November 2007.
Phakathi rose to prominence at Abafana Bes'thende as they won the National First Division title in 1999/00. He later joined Orlando Pirates in 2002 where he won the league in his first season at Mayfair.
Phakathi, who earned his sole Bafana Bafana cap in a COSAFA Castle Cup quarter-final against Zimbabwe in July 2003, returned to Arrows two years later. He also played for Maritzburg United before hanging up his boots in December 2010.
After retiring Phakathi served as an assistant coach to Shaun Bartlett when Arrows won promotion to the PSL in 2014/15.