In 1994, Lucas Radebe and another South African player, the late Philemon ‘Chippa’ Masinga, moved to Leeds United for a transfer fee of £250,000. What was funny about this transfer was that Radebe was only included in the deal to keep Masinga happy. This meant apart from salary, his position in the Leeds’ squad was not guaranteed. He was given to Leeds as what Lucas would call “nyongesa”

While there, Radebe did not agree with then Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson, and suffered injuries that prevented him for earning a regular team place even in the second team. However, when Wilkinson was replaced by George Graham, the new coach decided to test his ability by giving him a chance in the second team and later in the first team.

Radebe flourished and was made captain of the team for the 1998–99 season. While 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, Radebe 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.”

As things would turn out, Phil Masinga, who was the main deal in the transfer to Leeds, failed to perform and Radebe turned out to be the most valuable investment for the team.

When Radebe joined Leeds, there was a welcoming party for Masinga whom he joined and though he was part of the transfer, he was least mentioned. When Masinga left Leeds, there wasn’t even a party to honour his contribution but when Radebe left in 2005, Leeds held a testimonial for him at Elland Road, attended by a crowd of over 37,886.

In 2008, a local Leeds brewery asked for suggestions for a new beer; the most popular suggestion was RADEBEER, showing the Leeds fans’ admiration for Radebe. Today, people in Leeds, remember him even when they’re having their drinks. He was even honoured with a statue at their stadium.

While everyone sees nothing in you and rules you out, God sees something better and stronger in you. While they try to compare you with others and use your efforts to supplement their success, God is preparing your own space for greater success and with time and opportunity He will definitely disapprove every negative perception about you. Believe me, you are not going to come out the way you came. Better things await!


Tell us: What did you take away from Lucas’ story?