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Hlanti mourns 'future star' Radebe

KAS Eupen South African player Ntuthuko Radebe. Picture Credit: KAS Eupen via Facebook
KAS Eupen South African player Ntuthuko Radebe. Picture Credit: KAS Eupen via Facebook

If Bidvest Wits defender Sifiso Hlanti's view on the late former SA under-17 defender Ntuthuko Radebe is anything to go by, the country has lost a future star.

Radebe, 22, passed away in a car accident in the early hours of Tuesday, in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.

According to one of his close friends - Dumisani Dlamini - the footballer was travelling with his four friends, who all died, in his BMW 1 series which he had bought last week. They were on their way from town [Newcastle] to their home in eMadadeni.

Wits and Bafana star Hlanti, and Radebe, are both from Newcastle. The Wits defender is one of a few people in the SA football fraternity who was familiar with Radebe, who was playing for Belgian First Division side KAS Eupen.

"Though I was a bit older than him, we grew up together in Newcastle. He was one of the most talented defenders in our township. I was still expecting a lot from him.

"The country has lost a player who was going to be useful in the future," Hlanti told Sowetan yesterday.

It is normal for youngsters to be compared to established players but Dlamini refused to liken Radebe to any other popular defender, stressing that he was a different and special player.

"I cannot compare him to any defender but he was very strong. He was a special player who was always eager to prove himself on the field of play.

"Radebe was a breadwinner and he had built a house for his parents to thank them for raising him. When the accident happened, he had planned to return to Europe the next day," stated Dlamini.

Phumlani Nkosi, who also grew up with Radebe, shared the same sentiments and also confirmed that Radebe talked about a desire to play in the Absa Premiership in the near future.

The defender made 43 appearances in five years for Eupen. He had also represented SA's U-17 team between 2010 and 2011.

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