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100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
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Radebe: Lucas Valeriu (Lucas)

1994-2005 (Player Details)

Centre Back

Born: Johannesburg, South Africa: 12-04-1969

Debut: Sheffield Wednesday (a) (Substitute): 26-09-1994

5’11” 11st 9lb (2000)

#13 in 100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever

One of fourteen children, Radebe was born in the Diepkloof section of Soweto, near Johannesburg and started his football career as a goalkeeper, representing Bophuthatswana in the Homeland Games in 1990. He was playing for ICL Birds in the Bopsol League when his side had a crisis in central defence and he moved from between the sticks. He did well, kept his position in the team and was signed by Kaiser Chiefs in April 1989. A member of the Chiefs’ 1992 double-winning side, he was runner-up in the South African Player of the Year awards the following year and gained his first International cap for South Africa on 7th July 1992 in a 1-0 over Cameroon in front of 40,000 people at the Kings Park Stadium, Durban and quickly made it three with caps against the same opposition two and four days later before a crowd of 16,000 at Goodwood Show Ground in Capetown where Cameroon gained revenge with a 1-2 win. The third ended in a 2-2 draw in front of 65,000 at Soccer City, home of the Kaiser Chiefs, in Soweto, Johannesburg. On 16th August 1992 he got his fourth cap in a Group Five African Nations Cup game in front of 51,000 at Rufaro Stadium, Harare in which they were beaten 1-4 by Zimbabwe. His next cap came in a Africa Group D match in the World Cup Qualifiers on 10th October 1992 and he started the game in front of 40,738 at the Surulere Stadium, Lagos, and South Africa went down 0-4 to the home side Nigeria as he was replaced by Peter Gordon in the seventy-sixth minute. On 10th January 1993 there were 20,000 in the crowd at the National Stadium, Gaborone, when he tasted victory by 2-0 over Botswana in a Friendly. This was followed by two World Cup Qualifiers, in the African Group D. The first being the reverse fixture with Nigeria on 16th January 1993 which ended in a 0-0 draw in front of 47,748 at Soccer City, Johannesburg and fifteen days later they travelled to Congo and won 1-0 before 12,000 spectators at Stade Municipal, Pointe Noire, Congo. His ninth cap came in the African Nations Group Five game when a crowd of 28,000 witnessed a 0-0 draw with Mauritius on 10th April 1993. He took his International caps to twelve as he played in three Friendlies. The first was on 6th October 1993 in a 0-4 defeat by Mexico seen by a crowd of 12,578 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum then two more in early 1994, the first on 24th April before a crowd of 25,000 at the Independence Stadium, Umtata, East Cape where they beat Zimbabwe 1-0 and then on 10th May 55,000 saw them defeat Zambia 2-1 at Soccer City. So Lucas Radebe was already an established South African International with a dozen caps when he arrived at Elland Road with countryman Phil Masinga in August 1994. However, back in 1991 he had been shot while walking down the street, though he was not critically wounded. The motive for the shooting never became clear, but Radebe himself believes that someone had been hired to shoot him in order to prevent him from moving to another club. Radebe scored five goals in one hundred and thirteen games for Kaiser Chiefs. Partially motivated by the shooting incident, Radebe and Philemon "Chippa" Masinga moved to Leeds United. Radebe was only included in the deal to keep Masinga happy; but it turned out he became the more valuable investment. He was extremely versatile, playing in midfield, all the defensive positions and even in goal when needed. Just for good measure he won an African Nations Cup winners’ medal and played in the League Cup Final defeat by Aston Villa in an astonishing 1995-96 season. His goalkeeping exploits emerged the week after the Wembley Final, when Leeds were trailing 1-0 at half-time at home to Middlesbrough. Goalkeeper John Lukic did not reappear after the break because he had taken a bang on the head, so with no keeper on the bench, Howard Wilkinson turned to Radebe, who kept a clean sheet. A few weeks later he came off the bench after keeper Mark Beeney had been sent off in the sixteenth minute at Old Trafford and he kept the EPL Champions, Manchester United at bay until extremely late in the game when Roy Keane scored the only goal of the game. Leeds coach Howard Wilkinson had previously recognised Radebe's excellent physical attributes and quickly moved him from midfield to centre half. Radebe struggled early on in his English career, partly due to injuries, partly because he did not see eye-to-eye with the manager. When Wilkinson was fired, George Graham took over the reins and gave the South African star a chance to blossom. It was the opportunity Radebe had been waiting for. "The Chief", as Leeds fans dubbed him, quickly established himself as a player to be reckoned with. He showed an excellent understanding of the game, strong tackling, fine man-to-man marking, and had a calming influence on his teammates. Graham appointed Radebe captain for the 1998-99 season. At the time Leeds had several non-British internationals on their books and Radebe was one. Graham was always reluctant to release them to play for their countries. These players would travel long distances to represent their countries and were also required to attend extensive training camps as well as participate in tournaments and qualifying games. This took a toll on the players resuling in tiredness from constant travel and the inevitable injuries in the games and training. However, Radebe remained in constant demand by his club and country whenever he was fit and often played through the pain barrier. His first cap while with Leeds was soon after his transfer was in a Group Five African Nations Cup in a 1-0 win over Madagascar before a crowd of 35,000 at the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium, Antananarivo on 4th September 1994 which was soon followed on 15th October by another 1-0 victory over Mauritius in the same competition watched by 20,000 in the Odi Stadium, just north of Pretoria in Mabopane. South Africa advanced to the next stage of the competition and Radebe next played in a 1-1 draw with Zambia in front of 40,000 at the Independence Stadiium, Lusaka, in a Group E game on 13th November, but it would be over a year before his next game as he spent a long time on the injury list. On 20th January 1996 he made his return in the Group A games of the African Nations Cup gaining his sixteenth cap in a 1-0 win over Angola as a seventy-fifth minute substitute for Theophilis 'Doctor' Khumalo with 40,000 in attendance at Soccer City. This was followed four days later by a start in a 0-4 defeat by Egypt, in which he was substituted by Zane Moosa in front of 45,000 at Soccer City. Three days later in front of 25,000 at Soccer City there was a full game as Bafana Bafana beat Algeria in the Quarter Finals to progress to the Semi Final and a meeting with Ghana. On 31st January 1996 they duly beat them before a crowd of 75,000 at Soccer City, before going on to beat Tunisia 2-0 in the Final on 3rd February 1996 in front of another 75,000 crowd at Soccer City to win the African Nations Cup as he also won his twentieth Cap. There was a crowd of 80,000 on hand to see the Friendly clash with Brazil at Soccer City on 24th April 1996 as South Africa were narrowly defeat by 2-3. His next six caps were all won in the World Cup Qualifiers. There was the home and away Africa zone first round pairing with Malawi in which South Africa prevailed in both games to progress to the next round, winning the away leg in the Kamuzu Stadium, Blantyre by 1-0 in front of 7,000 on 1st June 1996 and there were 15,000 on hand to see them win the home leg at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) by 3-0 a fortnight later. These were followed by one home and three away games in the second round of the African section of the World Cup Qualifiers known as Group Three. On 10th November 1996, in front of 55,000 at Soccer City South Africa won their home game with Zaire 1-0. On 11th January 1997 before a crowd of 27,000 at the Independence Stadium Lusaka they played a 0-0 draw with Zambia. Then on 6th April 1997, in front of 20,000 at the Stade Municipal, Pointe Noire, the Republic of Congo won by two goals without reply, before three weeks later with 7,000 in attendance at the Municipal Stadium, Lome, Zaire were beaten 2-1. Two Friendlies followed the first at Old Trafford with a crowd of 52,676 on 24th May 1997 when England won 1-2. The second with a crowd of 35,000 at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, (Soccer City)in which Netherlands also won, but by 0-2 on 4th June 1997. His next two caps came in the World Cup qualifiers Group Three with the home games on 8th June 1997 in which Zambia were beaten 3-0 in front of 70,000 at Soccer City and on 16th August when there were 90,000 at Soccer City to see a 1-0 win over Congo. Three Friendlies were played in the winter of 1997 two of them in Europe where France defeated them by 1-2 in front of 29,677 at Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens. Then they lost 0-3 to Germany on 15th November with 27,000 watching at the Rheinstadion Dusseldorf and then it was back to Ellis Park, Johannesburg, to face Brazil and were defeated 1-2 in front of 45,000 on 7th December. Ten days later Radebe played in a Group B match in the Confederation Cup at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where a crowd of 5,000 saw them go down to Uraguay 3-4in a game where he scored his first International goal in the eleventh minute to give South Africa a 1-0 lead. He then played six games in the African Nations Cup, starting with three in the Group C fixtures in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. The venue of the first game was Stade Omnisport de Bobo Dioulasso and 10,000 saw them play a 0-0 draw with Angola on 8th February 1998. Three days later the venue switched to the Stade Municipal in the same City as they drew 1-1 with Ivory Coast in front of 10,000. At the same venue and a similar crowd five days after the game with Ivory Coast they beat Namibia 4-1, which was good enough to take them into the quarter-finals. On 22nd February they beat Morocco 2-1 at the Stade Municipal, Ouagadougou, with an attendance of 3,000 to progress to the Semi Final. This was played three days later in front of 2,000 at the National Stadium, (4th August Stadium), Ouagadougou and Congo were defeated 2-1 (after extra time) as Radebe came off after two hours as Dumisa Ngobe replaced him in the final minute. The Final took place on 28th February 1998 at the same venue with 40,000 in attendance and Egypt emerged the winners by 0-2. He played his forty-second International game on 20th May 1998 in a 1-1 draw with Zambia in a Friendly at Soccer City with 30,000 in attendance and two further Friendlies followed in quick succession as Bafana Bafana travelled to Argentina and were beaten 0-2 at the River Plate Stadium, Buenos Aires before a crowd of 40,000 on 25th May 1998 they then played a 1-1 draw with Iceland before an attendance of 2,000 at the Freudenstadt Stadion, Baiersbronn, South Germany and Radebe came off for Lebogang Morula with three minutes left on the clock on 6th June 1998. The games were in preparation for the World Cup Finals in France in which South Africa had been drawn in Group C and their first game was on 12th June 1998 against the host nation at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille, which drew a crowd of 60,000 but France won 0-3. Six days later, in front of a crowd of 36,500 they drew with Denmark 1-1 at Stade Le Municipal, Toulouse and another draw 2-2 with Saudi Arabia before 34,500 at Stade du Parc Lescure, Bordeaux saw South Africa fail to make the knock-out rounds on 24th June 1998. His forty-eighth cap came on 3rd October 1998 in a 1-0 win over Angola in Group 4 of the African Nations Cup watched by 20,000 at Soccer City, Johannesburg. He had long been the rock of the South African and Leeds defence and captain of both teams. Graham left Elland Road in October 1998, to be replaced by David O'Leary. The new manager's first request to the club's board was to secure the services of Radebe for the rest of his career. O'Leary had served as Graham's assistant, and and understood just how much the South African captain brought to the Yorkshire club. "Lucas should be set in stone and never allowed to leave", O'Leary said. The Chief signed a four-year contract, and went on to prove himself a major success. In 1998/99 Leeds finished fourth in the EPL, and so qualified for the UEFA Cup. The following season they finished third in England and qualified for the higher profile, more lucrative ECL. Surprising many, Leeds made it through to the Semi-Finals. Radebe picked up a knee injury in 2000, and subsequent knee and ankle injuries kept him sidelined for the better part of two years. Under O'Leary, Leeds and the South African F.A. had come to an agreement to restrict his International appearances and this reflected in his subsequent career. He played, when fit, in important International competitions, such as the African Nations, World Cup etc but not in Friendlies unless necessary for preparation for major events. So in 1999 and 2000 he played in the African Nations Cup competition and in 2002 in the World Cup. On 23rd January 1999 South Africa drew 1-1 in Mauritius at the King George V Stadium in Curepipe in front of a crowd of 2,385 in the opening Group 4 game in the African Cup of Nations. His fiftieth cap was earned in a 4-1 home win over Gabon watched by 50,000 at the Odi Stadium, just north of Pretoria in Mabopane. But on 10th April 1999 South Africa lost the reverse fixture at Stadt Omar Bongo, Libreville, with a crowd of 40,000 watching. There was a Friendly in which Radebe played, a 1-1 draw with Denmark in front of 17,592 at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on 28th April 1999. In this game Radebe was replaced in the final minute by Aaron Mokoena. On 5th June 1999, 40,000 watched a 2-0 win over Mauritius in the reverse fixture in Group Four at the King's Park Stadium, Durban. Eleven days later he played in an Inauguration Challenge which Zimbabwe won 0-1 at Soccer City with 40,000 in attendance. On 27th November 1999 he played in a friendly international 1-0 win over Sweden before 15,000 at Minolta Loftus Super Stadium, Pretoria. The African Cup of Nations were played in Nigeria (and Ghana) in late January to mid February 2000. South Africa were draw in Group B of the final tournament and the three games took place at the Asokwa Stadium, Kumasi. There were 20,000 in the crowd as Gabon were defeated 3-1 in the first game on 23rd January 2000 and that attendance had dwindled to 3,500 four days later to see Congo beaten 1-0. on 2nd February only 2,000 were on hand to see a 1-1 draw with Algeria take Bafana Bafana through to the quarter finals. But just four days later at the same venue 40,000 were on hand to see South Africa get the only goal of the game to eliminate Ghana and move into the Semi-Finals.It was Radebe's sixtieth cap on 10th February 2000 and once more he led his men into battle in front of 40,000 at the Stade Surulere in Lagos, but this time the host nation won 0-2 to reach the Final, while South Africa were left to dispute third spot two days later at the National Stadium, Accra. It was a hard fought game which saw South Africa finally trumph on penalties by 4-3 after the sides had been locked at 2-2 as Tunisia equalised in the final minute. But Radebe was not there to take a penalty as he had left the field in the fortieth minute and been replaced by Frank Schoeman. Injury prevented Radebe from playing until 16th December 2000 in front of 5,800 at Soccer City when Liberia were defeated 2-1 in the qualifying group for the African Cup of Nations. He next played on 27th January 2001 in an African Group E game in the World Cup 1-0 win over Burkina Faso at Olympia Park Stadium, Rustenburg in front of a 35,000 crowd. He was a substitute at the start of the second half, when he replaced Pierre Issa in a 1-0 Friendly win over Madagascar at Kings Park Stadium, Durban, in front of 35,000 on 12th May 2002. He played in both games as South Africa won the Reunification Cup in Hong Kong with a 2-0 win over Scotland at the Mong Kok Stadium in front of 3,007 on 20th May 2002 and then beating Turkey 2-0 at the National Stadium, Hong King, three days later with 10,000 in attendance. He then played three games in Group B of the World Cup Finals played in Japan and South Korea. On 2nd June 2002 at the Asiad Main Stadium, Busan, South Korea, in front of a crowd of 25,186, he played in the 2-2 draw with Paraguay. Six Days later there was 47,226 present at the World Cup Stadium at Daegu, South Korea, as Slovenia were beaten 1-0. On 12th June 2002 at the World Cup Stadium, Daejeon, South Korea Spain won by 2-3 to effectively eliminate Bafana Bafana from the competition in front of 31,024. Radebe had done his best scoring his second International goal in the fifty-third minute to square the scores at 2-2, but he was replaced in the eightieth minute by Thabang Molefe and South Africa were edged out of second place by Slovenia on the narrowest of margins as they had scored one goal more, but were level on points and goal difference. It was thought that his final game would be his seventieth which took place on 22nd May 2003 at the Absa Stadium, or Kings Park Stadium, Durban with 48,000 in attendance to see England who won the game 1-2, but he played one further on 14th June 2003 to bring his total to seventy-one when Trinidad and Tobago were beaten 2-1 in front of 15,000 spectators at Telkom Park Stadium, Port Elizabeth. At the end of the 2005 season, Radebe retired from professional football in a star-studded testimonial match at Elland Road involving players from all around the world, and Leeds United players past and present. He was offered a role on the Leeds United coaching staff as a result. He remained a crowd favourite at Elland Road with the fans still singing his name even after his retirement. In 2008 a Local Leeds Brewery asked for suggestions for a name for a new Beer and the most popular suggestion was "Radebeer" showing the Leeds fans continuing admiration for him. Lucas was given a testimonial at Elland Road on 2nd May 2005 and it was attended by a crowd of 37,886. The Final Score was Leeds United XI 3 International XI 7. Numerous International Stars and Leeds United Legends turned out for the game showing how well regarded "the Chief" was throughout the world of football. The players included Gary McAllister, Vinnie Jones, Jay-Jay Okocha, Mario Mechiot, John Carew, Bruce Grobbelaar, Olivier Dacourt, Nigel Martyn, Gunnar Halle, Neil Sullivan, David Batty, Gary Speed, Gordon Strachan, Gary Kelly, Clyde Wijnhard, Phil Masinga, David Wetherall, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, Tony Yeboah, Paul Robinson, Chris Kamara, Matthew Kilgallon and Eirik Bakke. Lucas 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 match finished South African Invitation XI 3 Lucas Radebe All Stars 2. The proceeds from both of these matches were combined with other money raised and donated to charity as part of Lucas's big donation to charity in his final year as a player. Radebe was first included in the South African National Team in 1992. In 1996, he was a member of the South African team that won the African Nations Cup. Radebe was also the captain of the South African national football team (nicknamed the Bafana Bafana) in the 1998 World Cup and also in the 2002 World Cup. He was voted fifty-fourth in the top one hundred Great South Africans in 2004. The popular band the ‘Kaiser Chiefs’ are said to have taken their name from Radebe's old club as he had such an influence on them as children, and all the band members being Leeds fans.

League 180/200
F.A. Cup 19/21
League Cup 9/50
Europe 272