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The Men Who Led From The Front

Today, we take a look at footballers who are blessed with leadership qualities. Such footballers are a rare breed. They lead from the front, and lead by example. I focus on four captains I think are among the best skippers to have graced our shores: Neil Tovey, Lucas Radebe, Lucky Lekgwathi and Lehlohonolo Seema.

Neil "Mokoko" Tovey: He joined Chiefs in 1990 and took over the captaincy from Howard Freese in 1992. In the same season, Tovey managed 52 starts, which is still a record. He led Chiefs to cup victory, and scored two very important goals in the Rothmans Cup against QwaQwa Stars and Umtata Bush Bucks. He played 341 league games for Amakhosi. He played 362 matches and scored 32 goals in all competitions. He also represented Bafana Bafana and won 52 caps for the national side, without scoring a goal, and captained the team 29 times. He led the national team to their only AFCON triumph in 1996.

Lucas "Rhoo" Radebe: He started his pro career at Kaizer Chiefs in 1989, where he played 113 games, scoring five goals, before moving to Leeds United in the English Premier League in 1994. In 1998, he was named the captain of Leeds United, where he went on to play 201 games between 1994 and 2005. He also captained Bafana Bafana from April 1997, taking over the armband from Neil Tovey. He played 70 times for his country, from 1992 to 2003. He led Bafana to the World Cup in 2002 and scored a goal in the tournament.

Lucky "Phinda Mzala" Lekgwathi: He is arguably Orlando Pirates' most successful captain, having captained them to six trophies in two seasons (2010/11 & 2011/12) under Dutch legend Ruud Krol, helping Pirates become the only double treble Champions since the formation of the PSL. He was very instrumental in ending Pirates' eight-year league drought, scoring crucial goals in the process, most notably a winner against SuperSport United.

Many people call him "Captain my Captain" – he had hugely impressive 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons as he played a significant role in helping Orlando Pirates dominate South African football for two consecutive seasons. The veteran defender became the club's darling and an inspirational leader to the younger players in the squad. He knew how to steer the ship during tough times, and also earned 14 Bafana Bafana caps.

Lehlohonolo Seema: The Lesotho citizen joined South African team Bloemfontein Celtic from his native country's Bantu United FC in the 1998/99 season, and moved to Orlando Pirates in 2006. Having previously captained Bantu and Bloemfontein Celtic, he went on to captain Pirates and the Lesotho National team. He played 113 games for Celtics, 63 for Pirates and 23 times for Lesotho.

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Do you think these guys are among the best captains?

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