|Lucas Radebe facts|
Date of Birth: Saturday 12 April 1969
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Height: 6' 1"
Squad number: 5
When Howard Wilkinson signed two young South Africans for relatively small fees in 1994 no one batted an eyelid, especially as one of the pair had been thrown in as a makeweight in order for the deal to go through. Philemon Masinga’s stay in Leeds proved to be short and sweet, but it’s the makeweight - who, ten years on - is celebrating the end of a turbulent, yet magnificent career in the white of Leeds United.
Lucas Radebe is a man who is respected the world over, not just for his talent, tactical knowledge and leadership, but for the role he plays as an ambassador for a range of anti-racism and children’s charities in both the UK and Africa.
Sam Allardyce was brought in to oversee the opposition, an International XI including the likes of Jay Jay Okocha and John Carew, whilst Howard Wilkinson joined Kevin Blackwell in the home dugout to mange an All Star XI, which contained some of Leeds greatest players from the past fifteen years. In a way the occasion was as much a send off for Radebe as it was a chance for the Elland Road faithful to pay their respects to former players such as Gary McAllister, Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed and Tony Yeboah.
The opening few minutes set the pace for the match and gave the crowd time to perfect their Mexican Wave, whilst speculative efforts from Speed and McAllister were the only shots that came close to troubling Bruce Grobbelaar. But the deadlock was finally broken on 32 minutes when Leeds’ Young Player of the Season Aaron Lennon tapped in the rebound from a Gary McAllister shot.
Almost straight away, however, Mario Melchiot ran the ball through the Leeds defence before stabbing home an equaliser past Nigel Martyn, who’d previously denied Melchiot an easier chance to score, to silence the home crowd.
The last ten minutes of the first half were played out in driving rain, which must have seemed a far cry from Hollywood for Vinnie Jones, who’d come on in place of Strachan after the first goal. Jones’ good-humoured approach to the game wasn’t dampened however, even though John Carew poached a goal on the stroke of halftime to put Allardyce’s men 2-1 up at the interval, he continued to entertain by playing up to his hard man image in front of the Kop.
The second half saw Radebe switch teams, captaining the International XI and pushing forward to score the goal that the 38,000 fans had hoped for on 65 minutes. After being brought down in the box, The Chief stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty past Neil Sullivan. The introduction of Lucy Ward from the Leeds United Ladies team at the beginning of the second half had come as a source of amusement to some home fans but they were soon eating their words as she raced away and calmly placed a shot past Grobbelaar on 68 minutes to bring the score to 3-2.
A vintage display from substitute Ally McCoist then took the game out of the Leeds XI’s reach as he first tapped in a Gunner Halle cross on 72 minutes, before repaying the favour and setting up Halle to net from what seemed to be an offside position in the 75th minute. McCoist wasn’t finished however, tucking home in the 84th minute to put the game beyond any doubt.
A late Matthew Kilgallon lob on 88 minutes for Leeds would have appeared to have been the final and best goal of the day, until, with almost the last kick of the match, Radebe curled a sublime left footed shot in off the far post to mark the end of an astonishing decade at Elland Road.
Lucas Radebe's testimonial - Leeds United XI (past and present) v International World XI, was played at Elland Road on Monday 2 May 2005.
Listen to Lucas Radebe in an interview with BBC Radio Leeds' breakfast show by clicking on the link at the top of the page.