Home Human Impact Balancing Act: The Inspiring Journey of M-Pesa Academy’s Simon Kasuku, Excelling in Academics and Football

Balancing Act: The Inspiring Journey of M-Pesa Academy’s Simon Kasuku, Excelling in Academics and Football

by Femme Staff

The story of Simon Kasuku is a demonstration of how talent and academics can coexist and drive one to the top. We recently had a chat with him at Wang’uru Stadium where the Safaricom Chapa Dimba Central Regional Finals were held. His team was fighting it for a slot in the national finals.

Kasuku plays position four in the field, a position that he loves because it gives him the opportunity to keep the team safe. As much as he doesn’t get to score goals, he feels more valuable safeguarding the team as a defender. He looks up to Liverpool FC and particularly Virgil Van Dijk as their defender. Locally, he admires Gor Mahia for the discipline they have in training, teamwork, and team ethics.

The 17-year old’s interest in football started at a very early age with no family sports background at all. He just admired other youngsters in the neighborhood and started joining them. At that time, not even in his wildest dreams did he think he could be scouted to join the prestigious M-Pesa Foundation Academy with his football talent as one of the contributing factors. Fast forward, he is not only doing great in his studies as a DP1 student in the IB curriculum, but also representing his school at Safaricom Chapa Dimba regional finals. DP1 is equivalent to fourth form in the 844 system.

When his interest in football started heating up, his family was quite skeptical because they felt it was eating into his study time. But they saw how determined he was and embraced it with good guidance since he was still very young. They are elated at how football has paid off are now his big fans.

On his part he makes sure to balance between studies, household work and football through planning. The M-Pesa Foundation Academy has made planning easier for all students in their extra curriculum activities since they provide an official timetable, but he is also able to balance at home where he completes household work in the morning, studies in midmorning hours and goes for football practice in the late afternoon to evening.

Kasuku loves football not only because it gives him an opportunity to express himself through his talent, but because it is also a potential career. For the power that professional football holds, he would not hesitate to go all the way and become a full-time player. His wish is to play elite international football which will elevate him onto a platform to put his village in Mfangano on the map and enable him to give back to the community. For this he gets inspiration from footballer Michael Olunga, who empowers youth through sports, life skills and education through his charity, Michael Olunga Foundation.

To young aspiring footballers both boys and girls, Kasuku says that winning starts from the mind. Be mentally aware of yourself, believe in yourself and give it a go. The football scene is growing and there are a lot of economic opportunities cropping up. Develop the skills that every footballer needs, go out there and start with what is available in terms of facilities. These skills are talent, hard work, physical fitness, mental stability, and ethics.

Kasuku appreciates Safaricom Chapa Dimba immensely and says that the idea of scouting for talent from the grassroots where exposure is limited is brilliant. He requests Safaricom to ensure that the tournaments go on for years to come since there is always fresh talent to be discovered and nurtured. With time, Kenya will have a great supply of competent players.

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