HE might have not lifted neither the UEFA Europa League or UEFA Cup silverwares, but under his belt can boastingly declare has Africa Nations Cup title.
Lucas “Rhoo” Radebe, former Leeds United captain, Chiefs and Bafana Bafana defender, is part of the Uefa Europa League trophy showcase, two legged tour in SA. The first leg was at Melrose Arch on Thursday. Cape Town host the final leg today.
The tour also features former Chelsea and Nigerian captain John Obi Mikel, who’s decorated CV includes lifting both the UEFA Europa League, champions’ league and EPL title.
Both stars are the face of UEFA Europa League Trophy exhibition tour in mzansi, in partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Talking to packed members of the press, both players agreed South Africa has potential players’ to ply their trade abroad; if only they believe in themselves.
“I’ve been there. I know the mentality of characters in Europe and the environment. SA has good players who can play anywhere, in every league, if only they can put their chin up. Its unfortunate we have handful of them playing abroad which is a sad scenario.
They’re too comfortable playing here in SA,” says ‘Rhoo’, who said this gigantic silverware exhibition would perhaps inspire them to begin thinking out of the box and start rolling with punches.
On the other hand, his counterpart Mikel alluded that SA has best league and players who are a marvel to watch, if only they can step up a bit, to match their international partners.
“What keeps bothering me, is how, and why SA is failing to qualify and compete for World Cup and Nations Cup, respectively, when all resources are just under your nose.
In Nigeria, we look up to SA, for all what you guys have from thriving economy to development hence my assertion, you have it all, but why not qualify?” he asked yet again.
Mikel, also had a brief stint with then Ajax Cape Town, under the tutelage of Gordn Igesund in 2003. He was 12 years old, and as one reporter alluded, ‘mzansi was privileged to host one of the finest talents to emerge from Nigeria’.
In a decade of service, he clocked up 372 appearances in a Chelsea shirt, winning the Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Europa League and two League Cups.
Mikel won 89 caps and scored six goals between 2005 and 2019 for his country, winning the AFCON in South Africa in 2013.
He also led Nigeria to a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil as one of the over-aged players.
After leaving Chelsea in 2017 he had a couple of seasons in China with Tianjin, returning to England with Championship side Middlesbrough in 2019.
He signed for Trabzonspor as a free agent at the end of that season, only to terminate his contract early with the Turkish outfit in March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic erupted.
He has since retired and guess what, returned to where it all began- Cape Town, with his wife, spending four-months on a vacation.
Speaking exclusively to this reporter, on the sidelines at the launch, Hellen Ngaleka- Head of Strategy Implementation at Enterprise Rent A Car, said they’re happy with what has just unfolded after serious but beneficial talks.
As an international brand she alluded: “We believe in sport development internationally, and now making our presence felt specifically in SA, its a sign of investment opportunities we’re unlocking.
This tour speaks to our mandates that is to showcase the brand to the world; and a company that offers a variety of quality vehicles at the best rates available, worldwide,” she says.
“Both Lucas and Mikel are world renowned stars in their own right, so it was befitting to have our two ‘Sons of the Soil’ being part of this unfolding experience, since both boast vast knowledge in both African and European football. They ‘carry much on their shoulders’ and we’re ready to offer that much needed ride,” she chuckled with a smile.
Ngaleka also pointed-out that more activations will unfold as part of sport development and brand leverage across the board.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the official partner of the UEFA Europa League & UEFA Europa Conference League.
On Kaizer Chiefs firing coach Molefi Ntseki, ‘Rhoo’ said it was unfortunate it turned out that way and that the interim coach Cavin Johnson is a not a type of a coach the club needs.
“Chiefs is a big club with huge responsibility and whoever, gets appointed as new coach should be aware of that,” said former Chiefs captain and a keeper at one stage.
Top images Jacob MAWELA (Legends in their own right. Lucas Radebe and Obi John Mikel at the Uefa Europa League trophy showcase held at Melrose Arch, on Thursday).