WED­DING BELLS FOR LU­CAS RADEBE

CityPress - - Front Page - NTOMBI­ZODWA MAKHOBA ntombi­zodwa@city­press.co.za

Foot­ball leg­end Lu­cas “Rhoo” Radebe will walk down the aisle next month – for the sec­ond time. But he won’t re­veal the iden­tity of the mys­te­ri­ous woman who stole his heart. City Press un­der­stands that she is not in the pub­lic eye. She is an “or­di­nary woman” who has brought joy to his life. Radebe would nei­ther con­firm nor deny whether he was get­ting hitched in a few weeks’ time. “I can’t an­swer that. Did you get an in­vite?” he asked. “What I can say is that I’m happy where I am right now and I’m en­joy­ing life. Ob­vi­ously, at some point, I’ll have to take an­other step with my fam­ily. Life has been chal­leng­ing and hard, but I don’t think life is meant to be like that.”

City Press has learnt from two peo­ple close to Radebe that he will re­marry in De­cem­ber af­ter his first wife, Feziwe, the mother of two of his five chil­dren, died trag­i­cally af­ter a long bat­tle with breast can­cer seven years ago.

The for­mer Leeds United cap­tain told City Press: “I’ve com­mit­ted my­self to foot­ball for all of my life.

“After all that has hap­pened, I still be­lieve in mar­riage – es­pe­cially as a man with kids. This is the back­bone of the struc­ture of one’s life.”

This week, the Soweto-born 46-year-old was re­vealed as the new am­bas­sador for John­nie Walker and will be host­ing a cel­e­bra­tion din­ner on Thurs­day at Jo­han­nes­burg’s Alexan­der Theatre.

“When I look back on my jour­ney, I learnt this: Find your pas­sion, then fol­low it, no mat­ter what your mum says. Some­times you lose that pas­sion, like I did in Leeds, but you al­ways get it back,” he said.

Radebe said be­ing a sin­gle par­ent had been very hard. He and Feziwe had two chil­dren to­gether – son Lu­cas Ju­nior (16) and daugh­ter Owami (11).

“To be a sin­gle fa­ther isn’t easy. You al­ways try to [strike a] bal­ance be­tween busi­ness and fam­ily. But I ap­pre­ci­ate what moth­ers go through in their daily lives. It is ab­so­lutely a full-time job that comes with huge re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he said. Radebe said he al­ways put his chil­dren first. “But then you tend to ne­glect your­self. It’s a price you pay as a par­ent,” he said.

“I just want my chil­dren to be bet­ter than me and I’ll sup­port them in what­ever they want to do in life.”

His el­dest son, Ofentse (22), is now play­ing for Bid­vest Wits Foot­ball Club. Lu­cas Ju­nior used to play for the same team.

“But I told Ju­nior to fo­cus on his stud­ies this year. Ofentse is a de­fender, while Ju­nior is a striker. Hope­fully, in the fu­ture they won’t come up against each other,” he smiled.

“I re­ceived a call from one of the scouts to­day and he told me that they saw Lu­cas in Ofentse and that he had a bright fu­ture in soc­cer.”

Re­spect, com­mit­ment and hu­mil­ity are some of the morals and val­ues that he would like to in­stil in his chil­dren.

“Our life­style is chal­leng­ing. As a re­tired foot­baller, peo­ple look up to you and you have to be an ex­am­ple, and peo­ple al­ways for­get we are also not per­fect.

“You have to be­have and re­spect peo­ple, whether young or old, but at the same time, you have to live your life to the fullest.”

Radebe also has ad­vice for the new gen­er­a­tion of foot­ballers.

“Young soc­cer play­ers should bear in mind that foot­ball is not a long ca­reer. When you get a chance, make the best of it. You can live longer than your ca­reer.

“Lifestyle is a prob­lem, be­cause you are ex­posed to many things like women and al­co­hol,” he said.

“I’ve seen great play­ers fall be­cause of the life­style. I know peo­ple who were great foot­ballers, but they mis­used their sta­tus. See­ing where they are to­day pains me.”

Radebe be­lieves that South African foot­ball has a bright fu­ture. “I look around the coun­try and I see bet­ter soc­cer play­ers than me. Foot­ball is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.” And his English fans are still a part of his life. “Every time I go to Leeds, my fans put their clothes on the floor. They al­ways de­mand that I take off my jacket and tie, and give them to them.

“Some of them have even named their pets af­ter me – that’s how pop­u­lar I am in Leeds,” he laughs.

“It feels great when peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate you when you are still alive.”

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

Former Bafana Bafana cap­tain Lu­cas Radebe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.