SINCE the 2017 Selati Cup kicked off on the 19th of March, fans have been experiencing more fun, more excitement and a lot more soccer as local teams bring their skill and passion to the stadia of Mpumalanga.
As the tournament heats up, RCL FOODS are excited to announce that Lucas Radebe, one of South Africa’s greatest soccer players and sporting icons will be the brand ambassador for the 2017 Selati Cup and beyond. Lucas will guide young players, take part in training days with finalist teams and show his support throughout the tournament.
“We’re thrilled to have a legend like Lucas Radebe on board,” says Derek Van Niekerk, Director at RCL FOODS Sugar Business Unit. “As we aim to uplift the local community with more fun, more joy and more fellowship, the presence of such an iconic figure will no doubt help fans to feel like their community really is a part of the big leagues. Which, in our eyes, it is. Not to mention the incredible boost for up-and-coming soccer talent. Having a mentor like the great Lucas Radebe can only have a positive outcome. This is our way, as RCL FOODS, that we are giving back to the people of the Selati heartland.”
As a young boy from Diepkloof, Soweto, Lucas could never have dreamed of the successful career that he would enjoy. From back-street soccer games, where the ball was a bunch of rolled up socks, to a series of accolades and awards that acknowledge both his soccer achievements and his humanitarian efforts; as a brand ambassador for a tournament that seeks to uplift a society plagued by economic and emotional challenges… there really is no one more perfect for the job.
At the age of 20, young Lucas was signed with South Africa’s pre-eminent club Kaizer Chiefs. He quickly established himself as a key player for the Amakhosi. , and was voted South Africa’s Rookie of the Year in 1992. From 1990 to 1994 Lucas made 113 Kaizer Chiefs appearances winning 2 league titles, 1 Bob Save Super Bowl, 2 Castle Challenge Cups and 3 BP Top 8s.
In 1994, Lucas signed with Leeds United and left South Africa for Yorkshire, England. Within four years he was named Club Captain, becoming the first black South African and African to captain a Premier League team. From 1994 to 2005, Lucas made 201 appearances. His loyalty to Leeds was rewarded with a Testimonial year in 2005, where 38 000 fans came to show their appreciation of a Leeds Legend.
Lucas debuted for Bafana Bafana in 1992, and joined a team of fellow South Africans who were a part of the first ever non-racial team to represent South Africa following its return to international football. He was outstanding in the Bafana Bafana team that won the African Nations Cup on home soil in 1996. He then went on to captain the National team, leading Bafana to its first ever World Cup appearance in France, and again in 2002 in Japan. After eleven years, in 2003, with 70 South Africa caps, Lucas retired from international football. Lucas’ loyalty remains with his country and Bafana Bafana as he played a central role in bringing the World Cup to South Africa in 2010.
A soccer tournament with a rich heritage and a greater purpose, The Selati Cup is set to bring more opportunities to the local people of Mpumalanga. Thanks to the commitment RCL FOODS has made to uplift, enrich and support the communities in which they work; we will witness as the tournament continues to grow, both in awareness and popularity. Fans will continue to celebrate and cheer on their favourite teams, many soccer dreams will become reality as talent scouts attend the games to discover what Mpumalanga has to offer, and now, soccer legend Lucas Radebe will bring even more hope and excitement to the field.
The Selati Cup final will take place at KaMhlushwa Stadium on Sunday the 4th of June 2017.