Kenya is a country blessed with a number of talented footballers. Many of them have always wanted to make it to the grandest stage of them all. While some see the Kenya Premier League as the epitome of success in the career, many have always dreamt of playing in a foreign league with Europe being the most preferred destination for many.
For some, their dream of going to Europe came a little bit early in their lives and with that, they have gone to enjoy the great footballing structures that come with growing there. One such person is 12 year old Brooklyn Kazungu who turns out for Leicester City’s under 15.
Kazungu has all it takes to be a future household name in the football world. Having turned down the chance to sign for Tottenham Hotspurs, Kazungu has witnessed tremendous growth at Leicester City.
The Kenyan youngster was born in Milton Keynes, just five years after his father George Kazungu, who hails from Kilifi County moved to the UK.
He would later join MK Dons, a club famed for producing top footballing talents like Delle Alli. Kazungu was 5 when he joined MK Dons and it is here that his promising football career began taking shape.
His dad, Mr. Kazungu revealed that his love for the beautiful game was visible from a very tender age and it was therefore just proper that he was helped pursue it professionally.
“Brooklyn has always been active from day one. He would never sit still unless forced too. He always had a ball or something he can kick around from the time he realised he could walk, but he started structured football when was eight years old at Two Mile Ash, a grassroots team in Milton Keynes,” his father told Nation Sport.
“We had a deal between the two of us. I would support him on anything he needed for a year so long as he did his best to get scouted by a professional set up within that time. Within six months, he had been scouted and was training with Tottenham Hotspur, and Reading FC,” he added.
While training with Spurs and Reading FC, Mr. Kazungu got a call from a scout at Leicester City inviting his son Brooklyn to a showcase fixture. Here, he played a couple of games and the scout liked what he saw. He was then invited to play with the shadow squad against the signed academy boys after which he got signed.
Brooklyn is one talented kid wearing many hats. Apart from football, his father also points out that he is very good in athletics. He holds the record for 100 and 200 metres in inter-school athletics competition for his age in Milton Keynes.
He was also scouted by a swimming and an athletics club and he represents his school in rugby and basketball.
“He has always been more than capable in any sporting activity he is asked to participate in, including football. To me, it was not a matter of talent but rather a decision on which sport would suit him the most, and I am happy we settled on football,” Mr. Kazungu told Nation.
At just 12, not many kids from Kenya and indeed Africa find themselves in Brooklyn’s position. Many are still engaging in street football and with the lack of proper footballing structures back here, Brooklyn is one lucky kid. He is ready to make the best out of everything at Leicester. He is already a key player for the junior foxes but has his bar set up there.
”Leicester has been really good. It was very tough at the start as I had to earn the trust of both my coaches and team mates. Thanks to God, I am now a key player and one of the best in my age group,” he said.
Brooklyn is a rare gem, a utility player who can play in central midfield, either wing, as a striker and as a central attacking midfielder.
“I like these positions because they allow me to make good use of my skill, pace, strength and trickery on the pitch, but I can also play in defensive positions when called upon by the coach,” he says.
His major focus at the moment is to rise up the ranks at Leicester City and break into the senior team. His sights are set on playing for one of the best teams in the world.
“Right now, my focus is to rise up the youth rank at Leicester City, and to hopefully break into the senior team in a few years. God-willing, I see myself as a professional footballer at one of the best teams in the world,” he adds.
With his talent, Kenya’s Harambee Stars will surely come calling for him a few years from now. Does he see himself turning out for his home country?
According to his dad, it will be hard to make a decision when the time comes, but acknowledges it will be a good problem to have since it will mean his son is doing well in his football career.
Brooklyn loves Kenya and admitted to visiting it once in a while with his family. He is however concentrating on his career at the moment and does not want to get lost in the discussion regarding the country he will represent at the senior level.
“Right now I just want to focus on building myself, practice more and work to fulfill my potential. Which country I will play for is not something I’m thinking about now but I love both countries” he told Citizen Digital..
“Kenya is where all my parents were born, all my cousins are there and I really love the country but also here in England is where I got my opportunities, my education and my friends from” he added.
I bet we would all like to see Brooklyn turn out for Harambee Stars in future after losing out on Divock Origi who decided to represent Belgium.
Until then, we wish the young lad all the best in his promising career.
Special mention to Nation Sports, Citizen Digital and KTN Sports for the additional reporting