The chief is back!

By admin
01 October 2010

Fans lined up outside the stadium long before the game was due to kick off. And when Lucas Radebe appeared in front of the packed stands he was given a standing ovation.

The man they’d nicknamed Chief was back.

That was the scene recently when Lucas made an emotional return to Elland Road, home ground of Leeds United, the English club he captained for years. Supporters proved they still loved him by packing the stadium hours ahead of the kick-off against Sheffield United (Leeds won 1–0) after hearing he’d be there.

The occasion was the launch of his biography,Lucas: From the Streets of Soweto to Soccer Superstar, and when the applause had died down Rhoo got down to autographing thousands of copies.

Afterwards Lucas, still emotional from the experience, paid tribute to the enthusiastic crowd.

‘‘It is absolutely unbelievable to be back here,’’ he said. Flanked by son Lucas Jnr (11) and daughterOwami (6), he added, ‘‘I always look forward to coming back to Leeds – it’s where I belong.’’

The book, penned by Yorkshire writer Richard Coomber, tracks Lucas’ incredible journey from a childhood of hardship in Soweto where he was plucked from obscurity to play for Kaizer Chiefs who later sold him to the Premiership club in Yorkshire, England.

After establishing himself as Leeds’ key defender in 1994 he made more than 200 appearances in 11 years, in that time also playing 70 games for South Africa.

He won countless accolades during his career, including the Professional Footballers’ Association merit award earlier this year for ‘‘outstanding contribution to professional football for both club and country’’, which reflects the worldwide respect and admiration Lucas commands.

‘‘People are always interested in life as a professional soccer player,’’ he says. ‘‘I suppose I just wanted to share my experiences with those who have supported me.’’

Read the full articlen in YOU, 7 October 2010.

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