From Cape Town to Belgium: The incredible story of Kurt Abrahams' journey

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Hailing from the Cape Flats, it's easy to become just another statistic, but Abrahams continues to defy the odds

When growing up in the Cape Flats, an expansive, low-lying, flat area situated to the southeast of the central business district of Cape Town, you are often perceived as violent, addictive and courting risk.

This is due to the vastly reported high rate of gangsterism, one of the most pressing issues in the urban ghettos of the Cape Flats.

Now try to envisage this; you are growing up in Lavender Hill, in a low-income household, you are a struggling high school student and your childhood dream is meeting Andres Iniesta and playing for one of the world’s most decorated clubs – Barcelona.

You are often led to believe that your Barcelona dream is almost impossible because you are told you are too short by Cape Town's professional clubs.

The likelihood - in that situation - is you will eventually drop out of school, get caught up in criminal battles, drug use and eventually become a member of the gang.

But certainly not Kurt Abrahams, who defied this evolving trend and followed an unlikely trail to his dream of professional football.

Abrahams, who hails from the Cape Flats, has started 12 of Westerlo's 14 matches in the Belgian First Division B, he has scored five goals in the regular season and also recently opened his account in the Europa League play-off's.

Abraham’s journey started when he saw an advert on a local newspaper about the scheduled trials for local team Cape United. The team is run by legendary youth development coach Colin Gie, the man credited with discovering Quinton Fortune and Anele Ngcongca among many others.

"I saw an advert in the newspaper that Cape United were holding trials at Wynberg Military Camp," Abrahams told Goal.

"Colin Gie spotted my talent immediately and although I was small, he believed that I had the qualities to make a career in professional football in Europe. And following a rigid five-year development programme under him at Cape, I was ready at the age of 18 to make my dreams come true.

"He [Gie] then arranged the trial for me at Sint-Truiden in Belgium, sorted out all my travel, visa and accommodation requirements.

" I thank God every day because without Colin Gie I don't think I would be where I am today.

"Cape Town professional clubs thought that I was too small. I was also struggling academically at school and it was not easy for me.

“But things would change for the better when Mr Gie persuaded my parents to allow him to bring me overseas on trial.”

Bolstered by the unknown tiny expeditious attacker, Sint-Truiden came close to toppling Lokeren and progressed to the next round of the Europa League play-offs in May owing to some exploits by the South African minnow.

Abrahams, 21, introduced himself to the football world by coming off the bench to net a thumping hattrick as Truiden recorded a historic 7-0 over KV Mechelen in May 2017.

He created a lot of havoc with his speed, an attribute he holds dearly.

“My key attribute is my control, first touch, speed and quickness are my key attributes.

"I enjoy a free role to roam around behind the striker or either left or right flank.

“I remember my first goal in Belgium, it was amazing, praise God for this, and we got all three points that day and that made it sweeter.”

Abrahams has since left Truiden for Westerlo who compete in the Belgian second tier where fellow South African, Bafana Bafana international Percy Tau also plies his trade for Union Saint-Gilloise

Despite playing in the same league as Tau, Abrahams remains uncapped for any of the nationals teams, he remains hopeful though that he can join the former Mamelodi Sundowns star when making trips for international duty.

“Mr. Gie has always advised me to take one step at a time,” he added

“Right now, my short team goal is to help Westerlo gain promotions this season.

“Any player should want to play for his country and I am no exception and, in the future, I would like to meet Iniesta, who I always admired and still is to this day.

“My dream and passion was to always play in Europe with no real team in mind except for Barcelona.”

He concludes by advising youngsters to dream beyond playing in the Premier Soccer League.

“It’s a fallacy that you need to start in the PSL as Mr Gie has introduced so many players into the European ranks without ever playing professionally in South Africa.

“Often when one joins a professional club in South Africa one’s focus is shifted in another direction because of big money promises by clubs, which normally spells the end of the European Dream.”

Abrahams is next in action against Tubize on Saturday 15 December.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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