Leeds United club legend Lucas Radebe will travel to the UK to support his former team if they reach the playoffs in the Championship with an opportunity to regain a place in the Premier League, where he says they belong.
Speaking to Laureus South Africa’s Power of Sport podcast he says that English football desperately needs the club back in the top-flight, among the game’s biggest names.
“Gary Monk has really managed to get a squad that can compete now, not only in the Championship, but is promising to get promoted where I think is where Leeds belongs. It’s not the same without Leeds, you look at the Premiership and (think) “where’s Leeds United?” I think the Premiership misses Leeds.
“It’s a great club, it’s a massive team, and I’m happy and excited because I said to myself that if they reach the playoffs then I’m going (to attend). I’m going to support them because Leeds will always remain a part of my life, remain part of my career, forever, and will always be close to my heart.”
Radebe, a Laureus ambassador, says that the club, at which he spent over a decade, left an indelible mark on him.
“Walking on the streets of Leeds, people bowing down at my feet; I didn’t understand it at first…but it’s something that got me really emotional. And to see how my contribution, just through football, can make you belong, in a place (football) that (at the time) was full of racism, especially as a black guy from South Africa, and being taken to heart like that, was absolutely amazing.
“There was one guy who came to me at some point, he was in a wheelchair, (and) he says: “I’ve never respected a player like I respected you, I feel like I could walk, I feel like I could stand up and walk.”
Meanwhile South Africa’s search for a new coach of the national team, Bafana Bafana, still hasn’t been concluded and Radebe, who captained his country at two World Cups, says that SA football bosses have to tread carefully on who they decide, particularly if that person is foreign.
“You need somebody that’s going to be there long-term, who’s going to buy into the vision.”
For the full interview with Radebe, including thoughts from his former manager David O’Leary, as well as our special ‘Blitz’ feature then download the episode and subscribe to the series.
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Also in this episode we catch up with Dan Nicholl about his programme, The Dan Nicholl Show, now in its 5th season. In typical style Dan talks us through some of the highlights over previous series’ and, excitingly, what we can expect in this one, including a foray on the ice at Grand West in Cape Town.
The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge saw nearly 14,000 runners take to the streets of a nighttime Johannesburg, as 273 companies celebrated camaraderie and corporate teamwork – with Laureus a very grateful beneficiary.
From pounding the streets to one of the world’s most prestigious amateur golf tournaments, the Mercedes Trophy, where on offer a trip not only to Mauritius but the added incentive of representing South Africa at the finals in Stuttgart, Germany is a huge incentive for the participants.
AND Beyond the River is out in cinemas now. It’s a truly inspirational South African story of two men from vastly different backgrounds with one common goal.
Director Craig Freimond along with co-stars Leomgang Tsipa and Grant Swanby tell us all about the trials and tribulations of bringing a truly unique story to life on the big screen.
To find out; subscribe to the podcast now on iTunes and follow us on social media at #PowerOfSport.