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Goal looks at the success of Lucas Radebe, and the leading factors from his achievements that current South African players can learn from

Whilst most critics argue that today’s SA generation lacks as many role models compared to the likes of Nigeria, there are modern Bafana legends to look up to.

If youngsters had the privilege of watching Radebe play with heart and soul, then a local player will realise that you don't need to be able to produce fancy, spectacular tricks with the ball to succeed. Radebe's success was about hard work, discipline, commitment and perseverance. 

We are realising that it is going to take a while for South Africa to produce another Radebe, while the likes of Aaron Mokoena and Bongani Khumalo attempted to take over the mantle, they each fell short of the former's legendary accomplishments.

Read more on: SA's future Goal 50 prospects

Born in the dusty streets of of Diepkloof in Soweto near Johannesburg, Radebe did not dream that one day he will end up captaining Leeds United and end up playing 200 matches for them. At that time Leeds were amongst the top three teams in England.

He was known for his steady tackles, but a player needs to be strong off the field too and Radebe proved this early on at Leeds where he was close to losing his contract. Injuries were one of the challenges that Radebe had to face during his time under manager Howard Wilkinson, but he kept his head high and kept on going until Wilkinson was replaced by George Graham.

Despite having started his football career with Kaizer Chiefs as a goalkeeper, Radebe switched positions to central midfield and then finally to central defence. Each experience added to his growing knowledge on the field.

Whilst the South African was captain of the club, Leeds enjoyed one of their best modern periods. In the 1998/1999 season they finished fourth in the FA Premiership, qualifying for the Uefa Cup.
During the 1999/2000 season they finished third in the Premier League and qualified for the following season's Champions League where they eventually reached the semi-finals.

During this time, the defender turned down the chance to move to Manchester United and AC Milan. Others might look back at that decision with regret but Radebe stood by his team as their financial struggles resulted in Leeds downfall in the years thereafter. This exemplified his commitment to the cause.
After Radebe, the next Bafana captain Mokoena was one of the best defenders that South Africa produced. He will be up there with other great defenders the country produced such as Mark Fish and Neil Tovey. 

These are the role models that young, upcoming soccer players should strive toward and hope to one day make the Goal 50: the top 50 players in the world. Over a decade ago, Radebe was one South African who would have made the list.