It doesn't matter if you support his team or not. He is that player that you must just watch. His discipline and commitment to the game is unmatched. A quite figure off the pitch, with so much skill, potential and commitment on the pitch.
He has played for the best, and he says he just got started. There is no better person to tell his story, than himself. Kenyanstar caught up with Zesco and Harambee Stars midfielder Antony Akumu for an exciting interview, where he relives his time at Gor Mahia, life outside Kenya and his personality.
This is Antony 'Teddy' Akumu's story.
Kenyanstar: Akumu, in brief what has been your story like from Kenya to Zambia?
Antony Akumu: First of all I thank God for every chance and step He has taken me through. It hasn't been easy. There have been challenges but again, challenges makes us grow to be better and get us to where we want if we persevere.
KS: You were part of a very solid Gor Mahia squad some years back. What worked for you as a team then?
AA: I think it was because of the respect which was there among us. We had different age groups in the team. It was about working, ...err, playing for each other.
KS: Which coach do you owe your success to while in Kenya?
AA: Every coach played his role for my development as a player. I thank them all... they believed in me and gave me a chance. So, they are all important and may God bless them a lot. I learnt different things from each of them.
KS: After Gor Mahia, you left for Sudan. How was it playing there and also how was it working with coach Kwesi?
AA: At first it was a challenge because of the different styles of play. However, with patience and being ready to learn, I found myself in the first team within a month. Working with Kwesi again was another milestone in my football career because he was and still is a big coach. He gave me a chance and believed in me a lot. He was approachable. We were very close. The only challenge for me in Sudan was language barrier and food. But in football we speak one language. I thank God for giving me that chance to play in Sudan because it takes a strong heart to play in such a country. Playing there made me tough, I think.
KS: What was your relationship like with the assistant coach? Is he the reason why you left?
AA: I don't want to talk about what happened between myself and the coach. But also I wanted a new challenge that’s why I left.
KS: Zesco- You have been doing well so far. What’s the secret for you at Zesco?
AA: (Laughs). Thank you. I don't think there is any secret in football. It's all about hard work, and taking time off to rest too. While here, you also need to work twice than the locals. It's also all about full concentration knowing that you are a foreigner. It's about passion for the game. It's also about strong desire to achieve something at the end of the day.
KS: Tactically - What would you say makes a good midfielder like you?
AA: (Pauses and thinks..) No secret again because football is played in broad daylight. A good midfielder is one who is ready to accept his mistakes and be ready to learn. One who follows instructions and takes every chance given.
KS: You have been said to be so humble and down to earth. Fans say that fame hasn't gotten to your head and you hardly have any off pitch issues. Kindly tell us about this bit of your life.
AA: I don't brag about that, but most people have told me about that bit of my life. I am one person who doesn't like sideshows or scandals. I don't go out. I am always indoors if not training or playing. I think that could be a reason. I also don't like people calling me a celebrity because I am not. I am normal just like them. If fame comes into your head, you'll start being arrogant and proud. It’s wiser not to allow it get to your head.
KS: How different is the Zambian League from the Kenyan Premier League?
AA: The Zambian league is more developed than the Kenyan league because football here is taken seriously and footballers are respected everywhere. Players also get good money which is good for them. If in Kenya we can keep politics out of soccer and start acting on the small issues that hinders soccer development, I think we can start moving from point A to B. Stakeholders and football directors should know that football is a career just like any other office job. The only difference is that, football is a short career.
KS: Harambee Stars - You are a regular face there. How is it playing in the national team?
AA: I thank God. He is the reason why I am there. I got one chance, and I proved that I can give something. Representing your country is the best feeling in any industry. However, in football it's more enjoyable because you wear the national team colours and people are watching and cheering you.God has been faithful.
KS: You are in good form plus age is on your side. Where are we likely to see in the next couple of years?
AA: I can't reveal it for sure because I am still contracted to Zesco. If a good offer comes, be it in Africa, Europe or Asia, why not? I believe something better will present itself at the right time. But as per now, my full concentration is to give my best each and everyday and help Zesco achieve its objectives.
KS: Any closing words?
AA: To my loyal fans, I wish to thank them a lot for their support and encouragement. May the Almighty give you good health and prosperity in your endeavours.
KS: Thanks Antony! Have a great time ahead in Zambia!