Rhoo’s bio – so homesick he ‘recycled’ coins

2010-09-26 10:21

Former Bafana Bafana and Leeds ­United captain Lucas Radebe used to pinch coins from a public telephone booth to call home shortly after his ­arrival in England in 1994.

This rather enterprising way of ­beating homesickness and other juicy details of the retired soccer legend’s life are contained in the biography Lucas: From the Streets of Soweto to Soccer Superstar which was launched in ­Britain this week.

The book chronicles the life and ­tribulations of Radebe, a hugely ­popular figure in Yorkshire, Leeds and a crowd favourite at Elland Road – Leeds United’s home base.

The 320-page book with 32 pages of colour pictures is the talk of the town, with several national and regional newspapers already dedicating acres of space to serialise it.

Reads an excerpt from the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Lucas made heartbreaking calls back home where he would be crying and saying he wanted to go back to his native South Africa.

“It was supposed to be summer but it was still colder than the winter he had left at home.

“Lucas was desperately homesick, together with Phil Masinga, who had ­arrived earlier.

“They collected a stash of 50p pieces so they could use the payphone at their lodgings to ring home. They called ­almost every night.

“It was expensive and eventually they found a way of prising open the cash box and recycling the coins.”

Radebe says the decision to move to England was not the easiest he has had to make in his life.

The Leeds United legend writes of his lonely life away from home when, aged 25, he set foot in Britain for the first time having been sold by Kaizer Chiefs for £250 000 (R2 763 607 at current ­exchange).

Penned by Yorkshire writer Richard Coomber and published by the Great Northern Books of UK, the book was released for sale in England yesterday retailing at R187 in most bookshops.

The book is expected to be available in South Africa in November.

Radebe’s tribulations in Leeds heightened in 2008 when his wife Feziwe succumbed to cancer, leaving him alone to care for their two children.

During his career, Radebe was ­renowned for being a world-class ­centre back who made life impossible for top strikers such as Eric Cantona, Allan Shearer and Andy Cole.

He was a member of the most successful Bafana Bafana team which clinched the Africa Cup of Nations ­trophy on South African soil in 1996.

He captained Bafana Bafana during the 1998 and 2002 Fifa World Cup ­competitions.

He played 70 times for Bafana Bafana and scored two goals.

Radebe played more than 200 times for Leeds between 1994 and 2005.

Radebe was born in Soweto in 1969 into a family of 11 children.

He was shot at in 1991, apparently to stop him from switching football clubs.

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