Lucas Radebe was signed by the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club as a mid-fielder. However, in 1991, he was shot while walking down the street and although not critically wounded, the incident was believed to be a motivator in his decision to move to Leeds United in 1994 (along with another South African player, Philemon “Chippa” Masinga).
Radebe became a star player for Leeds and was nicknamed “The Chief” by its fans. This was partly due to his previous club but equally because of his impressive skills in defence. In recognition of his leadership and abilities, Radebe was appointed captain of the team for the 1998/99 season where Leeds finished fourth in the FA Premier League and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
Sadly, in 2000, Radebe sustained knee and ankle injuries, which kept him out of the game for almost two years.
At the end of the 2005 season, Lucas retired from professional football in a star-studded testimonial match at Elland Road. It involved players from all around the world and Leeds United players, both past and present.
As an international, Lucas Radebe’s first outing for South Africa was in 1992 when he made his international début on 7 July 1992 against Cameroon.
He earned 70 caps for South Africa with his last match being against England on 22 May 2003.
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.