In Summary
  • KEEP CALM. Academics might not seem like a career option for a boy with talent like Allan Okello, but it is good to be challenged by skills that don’t come naturally to him.
  • Our columnist explains that Okello will come out stronger.

Dear Allan, I did not see you make your debut a few weeks ago, but I was there when Jackson Mayanja introduced himself to us at Nakivubo.

He did not score a hat trick, but he almost cracked the cross bar with the most bewitching of bicycle kicks. I refer to him because the people who watched you, are equating you to him.

Mayanja was immense and you will do well to enjoy even half the career he had at your club and beyond. But he was also from a different era, one devoid of social media and the madness it brings. You on the other hand may have to contend with different pressures if you are to attain your dreams.

So, I thought I would share with you a few things that I feel a boy like you should know.

Talent without effort is nothing – it’s important to always to give 100 per cent.

It may be hard to achieve that all the time, but it should never be for lack of trying.

Also, in this day and time, I think your major distraction will be the publicity. Be wary of that. Remember as you grow up that it’s too easy to worry that others are looking at you, or judging you. That is something social media makes worse.

But most of the time people are just getting on with their own lives.

In any case, be driven and never let people’s views sway your choices or limit on your ambition. Focus instead on gaining the support of your family, school and club. Those are the people you should respect and whose help you should always seek.

In fact, you are lucky to have the coaches you have. They have demonstrated that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

In Jackson’s days, a boy your age probably would not have made his debut for another four years. You have your chance, use it.
I must tell you though that even the longest football careers hardly last two decades.

Then what? So, remember to embrace new experiences and keep your options open. Academics might not seem like a career option for a boy with talent like yours, but it’s good to be challenged by skills that don’t come naturally to you. You’ll come out stronger and more rounded.

Of course, you will face hurdles in your career, but remember most things worth having in life are achieved through hard work. Remain positive and stick to your goals. Not everyone your age has figured out what they want to do in life.

In fact, even us grown-ups, are all still working out how to make the right choices. You, on the other hand are lucky in the sense that your natural gift has lit up that path for you already.

So, go for it and never get comfortable and smug. Setbacks are normal and you will make mistakes. But never stop learning. If you do that, the future belongs to you. All the best.