Lucas Radebe reveals how SA players can play in the EPL again

To celebrate 30 years of existence, SuperSport has been running the Premier League 30 Africa XI campaign to celebrate the best African players to have plied their trade in England’s top flight.

Bafana Bafana, Kaizer Chiefs and Leeds United legend, Lucas Radebe spoke fondly of his time at Elland Road and the significance of the contributions of the first cohort of African players to play in the world’s best league, the English Premier League (EPL).

“We [African players] came with something different in the way we play, especially with ou body structure, compared to what they were used to. That elevated the EPL,” he said.

The Chief, as he’s commonly known as, acknowledged the pressure of representing not only one’s country but also the continent. However, his desire to succeed saw him through.

“As Africans, we always looked back at where we come from. The surname on our back meant a lot rather than the game itself.”

Having represented “The Peacocks” during an era that boasted a whole host of South African talent such as Mark Fish and Shaun Bartlett in the EPL, he lamented Mzansi’s regression on football’s world stage.

“We have the talent in South Africa but the passion and the love is questionable,” h reflected. Over and above administrative improvements, he passed the gauntlet to th players to elevate themselves.

“The talent is there – we’re not far off. If we can invest more in the element of professionalism away from the game, it would be absolutely brilliant.”

With Burnley’s Lyle Foster being the sole South African player in this upcoming Premier  League season, his advice to Vincent Kompany’s target man was simple.

“The first three years are very important. Dig deep and put your head down and yo would’ve achieved your goal. Where you are, give 100% effort and do your best to improv your game.” In a campaign that Radebe described as a “joy and honour” to be a part of, fans have had an opportunity to vote for 11 of their favourite African players from a pool of 30, with voting closing on 30 June 2023.

The media event was a precursor for another media event in Lagos on Wednesday, July 5 before the Gala Dinner, also in Lagos on Thursday July 6. There, the PL 30 Africa XI, voted by the fans, will be revealed in a glitzy evening befitting of Africa’s PL Kings.

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