Lucas Valeriu Ntuba RadebeLegendary South Africa Footballer
- Date of Birth
- April 12, 1996
- Place of Birth
- Soweto, South Africa
- 1.86 m
- Playing Position
Lucas Valeriu Ntuba Radebe (born 12 April 1969) is a South African former footballer who played primarily as a centre-back.
He began playing in South Africa with Kaizer Chiefs, before transferring to Leeds United, where he played 200 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 atWorld 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.