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SA SOCCER NEWS
Leeds set to honour Radebe tonight 02/05/05
Leeds United are honouring the service given to them by former Bafana Bafana skipper Lucas Radebe by hosting his testimonial match at Elland Road later today (Monday).

Radebe has been with the Yorkshire club for 11 years now, after joining the club with Phil Masinga back in 1999, for a fee of 250 000 pounds.

It took 'Rhoo' a while to settle down in England as homesickness almost caused him to pack his bags and return to South Africa.

He initially struggled to make the grade under coach Howard Wilkinson, however the arrival of George Graham saw Radebe's career at Leeds take a turn for the better as he became a regular in the side and was also given the captain's armband.

Radebe continued to shine under the following coach, David O'Leary, and was an integral part of an ambitious and star-studded Leeds team which reached the Champion's League semi-finals in 2001.

However, the club has moved backwards since those heady days and came close to being liquidated as they dropped back into the first division at the end of last season.

The former Kaizer Chiefs star, who was capped by his country 70 times, was one of the few stars that remained with the team as the likes of Alan Smith, Paul Robinson, Dominic Mateo and Robbie Keane were snapped up by Premiership clubs.

Despite not having featured much in the team in recent times due to ongoing injury problems, Radebe remains an icon and the club, where he is worshipped by the passionate Leeds supporters, who refer to him as 'The Chief'.

Today's game will feature a 'World XI line-up', managed by Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce, which will include Jay Jay Okocha, Nolberto Solano, Juan Pablo Angel, Thomas Hitzelsperger, Michael Reiziger, Mark Fish, Mark Schwarzer, Boudwijn Zenden, Ivan Campo and Frank Queudrue, Olivier Dacourt and AS Roma's upcoming Brazilian superstar Mancini.

The Leeds United side will see the likes of Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister, David Batty, Gary Speed, Tony Yeboah, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Vinnie Jones, Paul Robinson and Sky Sports commentator Chris Kamara take to the field.

Radebe said: "It is fantastic that so many great names will be taking part in the game and taking time out from their busy schedules to lend their support. I am so flattered that players of their calibre, past and present, will be pitting their wits against each other in my honour."


 

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