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Hey there everybody! As you read this from wherever you are; be it in bed, the cyber café or at home, I want you to hear my story. A story of how football has changed and formed the person I am today.

Like all beginnings my relationship with football was a humble and simple one. A Sunday afternoon at the local park, ball in hand and my father for company. I can remember this distant day like a faint memory, it's details vague at best. Nonetheless, I can recall how my father taught me NOT to use my toes when kicking the ball. As I tried to master this new found knowledge a seed was being planted in me. A seed that up to this day would take root and slowly grow into a strong obsession, a love, and like a tree would grow spreading its branches soaking the sunlight giving me strength.



That analogy should explain how strongly I enjoy the game… I’ll move on and expound on this year’s training regime. Well basically everyday is a training day. We start training at 6.30am in the morning and everyday, come what may, I am awake at 5.00am. This helped greatly in waking up for fajr prayers and I am now the assigned ‘waker-of-people’ at home. Training locations varied from City Stadium to Limuru. Each morning I would commute to the place where training was to be held eagerly anticipating the next new piece of footballing knowledge I would receive. I would spend the entirety of my weekends-well most of them-at the pitch playing League games.

Socially this routine made me suffer. Most of my time was spent in school and at football related activities. I have goals and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to meet them. Balancing school and pro-football is not easy. From falling asleep in class to failing some tests, it has been a struggle. But which dream isn’t worth the struggle. Determination and hard work have been hard-wired into my persona. With such a hectic schedule an element of sacrifice has been squeezed in too.

Football. Soccer. Kandanda. Futbol. Whatever you call it. It means the same thing. The most popular sport on the planet and beyond. Millions around the world tune in everyday; like moths to a flame, they crowd round their screens to watch their favourite players and teams. Like a cult the sport has many excessive “zealots”. Personally I support Manchester United and Barcelona. The two biggest teams on the planet.

I was lucky enough to be born with the natural talent for the game. They say people are chosen for certain things in life. Football chose me. That said, it is never easy keeping up this addiction. There were times I would get home from practice and just lie on my bed and think "Why me?", "Why couldn’t I like do something else?". These thoughts plague me on a daily basis. All these doubts are washed away every single time I step onto the pitch for ninety or so minutes of untainted happiness.

Football has taught me to always live in the moment. When you’re on that pitch and everything else seems to be irrelevant, that is living in the moment. Enjoying life’s little things makes it easier to get through each day. To realize the importance of the little things such as family is what makes life worth living. I have also learnt pain and disappointment and that Allah only puts you through these periods if you can handle it. So with a genuine spirit of bravery I address each disappointment as it comes in the only way I know how. It goes like this: I curse, then I pray and finally I get back up, head down and keep going.

Many might wonder how a person can talk so strongly about a sport. Some even call it obscene and crazy. People are all about expression. Be it artists with their paintings, musicians with their music or architects with their grand designs; we all have something that lets us express who we are without having to say a word. And that ladies and gentlemen is what football is to me. A form of self-expression. I didn’t want to write too much lest this becomes long and repetitive. To finish I say “Alhamdulillah” and that one day “Inshallah” I will realize my dreams.

God knows I will fight to the end for them.

Nayim

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