||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (August 2011)|
|Full name||Lucas Valeriu Radebe|
|Date of birth||12 April 1969|
|Place of birth||Soweto, South Africa|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30/08/2006.
† Appearances (Goals).
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" respectively. 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."
Early career 
Radebe was born in the Diepkloof section of Soweto, near Johannesburg, as one of eleven children. When he was 15 years old, his parents sent him to one of the former homelands, Bophuthatswana, as a way to keep him safe from the violent neighbourhood of Diepkloof Zone Four in Soweto. There he joined the ICL Birds in the now-defunct Bophuthatswana Soccer League, and was spotted by talent scouts who recruited him to one of South Africa's top clubs, the Kaizer Chiefs, in 1989.
Club career 
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 captain, Leeds enjoyed a period of relative success; in the 1998/1999 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.
Post-Playing Career 
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 prepare 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.
During the FIFA 2010 World Cup, Radebe was a pundit for ITV's match coverage and also a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.
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 says both jobs are 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.
International career 
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 2 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.
International goals 
- Scores and results list South Africa's goal tally first.
|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|
Charitable work 
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, though luckily he was not critically wounded.
He was voted 54th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.
The Kaiser Chiefs are said to have taken their name from Lucas' old club as he had such an influence on them as young men, with all members of the band being Leeds fans.
He is friends with Tiger Woods and has played frequently in his Gary Player Invitational charity golf tournament to help raise funds for various children's causes
A suite at Elland Road is named the Radebe Entrance.
Leeds United's mascot. 'Lucas The Kop Cat', is named after Radebe.
In December 2011, he was inducted to The Football Ramble's Dean Windass Hall of Fame.
Further reading 
- Graeme Friedman "Madiba's Boys The Stories of Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish" Comerford & Miller, United Kingdom ISBN 1 919 888 08 Features a foreword by Nelson Mandela
- Shaw, Phil (28 April 2005). "Lucas Radebe: The original Kaiser Chief". The Independent (London).
- "Lucas Radebe - Footballer". BBC (BBC). Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Lucas Radebe - World-class footballer". Gauteng Tourism (Gauteng).
- "Lucas Radebe: The Chief".
- Hay, Phil (20 September 2010). "Leeds United: Lucas Radebe interview". Leeds: Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- "Lucas Radebe to receive the FIFA Fair Play Award for 2000".
- BBC (28/08/2005). "Radebe quits South Africa" bbc.co.uk (accessed 26st Sept 2006)
- (08/04/2008)."Cheers Lucas!" leedsunited.com
- "Leeds only club for me - Radebe". BBC News. 24 September 2010.
- "SAFA's master-stroke: Lucas Radebe returns as Bafana team manager". Neal Collins. 2 July 2012.
- "The Wounded Chief". Sky Sports.
- "Radebe recovers after heart scare". BBC Sport. 23 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- National Football Teams Profile
- A short documentary following Lucas back to his home town in Umlazi Township