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|Full name||Lucas Valeriu Ntuba Radebe|
|Date of birth||12 April 1969|
|Place of birth||Soweto, South Africa|
|Diepkloof Wolf Wanderers|
|1989||Kaizer Chiefs Juniors|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He began playing in South Africa with Kaizer Chiefs, before transferring to Leeds United, where he played 256 matches for the Yorkshire side. During his spells at these clubs, he picked up the nicknames "Rhoo" and "The Chief". He became captain of Leeds United and also of the South African national team, most notably at World Cup 2002. Nelson Mandela said of Radebe: "This is my hero."
Radebe was born to Emily and Johannes Radebe in the Diepkloof section of Soweto, near Johannesburg, as the fourth of 11 children. He attended the local Bopasenatla Secondary School until he was 15 years old. His parents sent him to one of the former homelands in Grade 10, Bophuthatswana, as a way to keep him safe from the violent neighbourhood of Diepkloof Zone Four in Soweto. There he attended Ngotwane High School near Zeerust. There he joined the ICL Birds in the now-defunct Bophuthatswana Soccer League, and was spotted by Patrick Ntsoelengoe who recruited him to one of South Africa's top clubs, the Kaizer Chiefs, in 1989.
Radebe originally started his career with the Kaizer Chiefs as a goalkeeper, and then switched positions to central midfield and then finally to central defence.
In 1994, Radebe and another South African player, Philemon "Chippa" Masinga, moved to Leeds United for a transfer fee of £250,000. Radebe was only included in the deal to keep Masinga happy; as it turned out, he became the more valuable investment.
Initially the move was not a success; Radebe did not agree with then Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson, and suffered injuries which prevented him for earning a regular first team place. However, when Wilkinson was replaced by George Graham, his career flourished and Radebe was made captain of the team for the 1998–99 season. Whilst he was captain, Leeds enjoyed a period of relative success; in the 1998–99 season, they finished fourth in the FA Premier League, qualifying for the UEFA Cup. During the 1999–2000 season, Leeds finished third in the Premier League and qualified for the following season's Champions League, where they eventually reached the semi-finals. During this time, Lucas turned down the chance to move to Manchester United, A.C. Milan and Roma. Alex Ferguson commented at the time, "Everyone should be interested in Lucas."
In 2000, he was awarded the FIFA Fair Play Award.
However, in 2000 Radebe sustained serious knee and ankle injuries, which kept him out of the game for almost two years, and subsequently found it difficult to regain his form and his place in the team.
Thebe Mabanga, a Mail & Guardian journalist, wrote that South African fans remember Radebe in his Kaizer Chiefs days as "a lanky, flamboyant central midfielder who switched to central defence with ease, snuffing out any opposition threat with exquisite, acrobatic scissor kicks and diving headers, and man-marking the most lethal strikers into silence".
At the end of the 2005 season, Radebe retired from professional football. Leeds held a testimonial for Radebe at Elland Road on 2 May 2005 attended by a crowd of over 37,886. Radebe also held a retirement match in Durban, South Africa between a South African Invitation XI and Lucas Radebe All Stars at Kings Park Soccer Stadium. The proceeds from both of these matches were combined with other money raised and donated to charity.
On 28 August 2006, Lucas announced that he was going back to Leeds after failing to secure a job with the World Cup hosts to be involved in the set-up of Bafana Bafana. He said he was "tired of waiting for unreliable people" who had allegedly promised him a role in the national team set up as the South African Football Association prepared to host the next World Cup in 2010.
In 2008, a local Leeds brewery asked for suggestions for a new beer; the most popular suggestion was Radebeer, showing the Leeds fans' admiration of Lucas.
On 8 October 2009, The English Football Association announced Radebe as an ambassador to help boost the 2018 World Cup bid.
A biography, Lucas: From the Streets of Soweto to Soccer Superstar by Richard Coomber was published in 2010.
Radebe revealed in September 2010 that he would like to manage Leeds United in the future and also manage the South African national side. He said both jobs were the only coaching jobs that he would consider. In July 2012, it was announced that Radebe had accepted a position as team manager with the South African national side.
In October 2013, Lucas Radebe announced that he was set for another emotional return to the Elland Road ground at Leeds, to be presented to the crowd on Sunday, 30 October 2013.
On 23 January, it was confirmed that Boxer Josh Warrington would fight IBF world champion Lee Selby (26-1) in his first world title fight on 19 May at Elland Road with Radebe joining Warrington for the ringwalk. On 19 May, Warrington secured a split-decision victory over Selby to claim the title. With Radebe as part of Warrington's ringwalk and band Kaiser Chiefs also played songs at the event.
In 1996, he was a member of the South African team that won the African Nations Cup. This triumph, coupled with the country's earlier victory in the Rugby World Cup helped to establish the country as a real force in the world of sport.
Radebe was also the captain of the South African national football team during both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2002 FIFA World Cup's. South Africa failed to reach the knockout stages on both occasions; however Radebe did get on the score sheet in 2002.
He earned 70 caps for South Africa and scored two goals during his international career, with his last match being against England on 22 May 2003.
After retiring, Radebe was influential in South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup. He could also be seen working as a pundit for South African television, and during ITV's coverage of the tournament.
|1||17 December 1997||King Fahd II Stadium, Riyadh||Uruguay||1–0||3–4||1997 Confederations Cup|
|2||12 June 2002||Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon||Spain||2–2||2–3||2002 World Cup|
Radebe has been an ambassador of FIFA for SOS Children's Villages; he also received the FIFA Fair Play Award in December 2000 for his contribution in ridding soccer of racism as well as for his work with children in South Africa.
In April 2003, for recognition of his efforts both on an off the field, Radebe was given the Contribution to the Community Award in the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards.
In 1991, he was shot whilst driving with his brother Lazarus to buy drinks for his mother but was not critically wounded. When Leeds United confirmed their interest in 1994, Radebe's decision influenced in part by an incident that had taken place three years previously. Radebe was shopping for his mother, accompanied by his brothers, one of his sisters and her baby. While walking, they heard a gunshot, but didn't pay it much attention because, says Radebe: "In Soweto you heard shots all the time". He felt a pain in his back and he was bleeding, and his left leg went limp. Radebe was rushed to hospital but nothing vital had been damaged. The bullet had entered his back and exited halfway down his thigh. The culprit is still unknown, it is suspected that someone was hired to shoot him rather than allow him to switch clubs.
He was voted 54th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.
His wife Feziwe died of cancer in October 2008. In December 2008, Radebe was treated for a heart complaint after collapsing while at the gym. Radebe married his second wife at the end of 2015.
|Club||Season(s)||League||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Continental2||Total|
|Kaizer Chiefs1||1990–94||National Soccer League (South Africa)||-||-||-||-||113||5|
|Leeds United||1994–95||Premier League||12||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||14||0|
|Leeds United total||201||0||16||1||12||0||27||2||256||3|