KURT ABRAHAMS may be small in stature, but the Belgian-based attacking midfielder packs a punch and is proving a point to the South African clubs who rejected him due to his size.
The name Kurt Abrahams is not one that will resonate with many South African football fans, but at Belgian club Sint-Truiden they believe he is a special talent with the potential to reach the very top. Quiet and unassuming, Abrahams prefers to let his work on the pitch do the talking, having travelled a difficult path to professional football. Colin Gie, his mentor and the man who groomed Abrahams through Cape United, formerly FC Fortune, has no doubt that the 20-year-old is destined for big things after helping him win a move to Belgium. “Kurt was struggling at school and so after speaking with the family, we advised them to allow him to follow his dream of becoming a professional footballer in Europe,” Gie tells KICK OFF. “We had little doubt of his qualities after grooming him for five years at Cape United.” Gie confirms that Abrahams had found it hard to win suitors in the local market, and adds that his quality is more appreciated in Europe. “Due to his size many of our professional clubs in South Africa rejected him. He has special attributes both on and off the field which will certainly stand him in good stead as we take him forward one step at a time to what we believe will be a hugely successful professional career in Europe and for his country.” Abrahams was raised in Lavender Hill, a Cape Town suburb notorious for gangsterism, but says a solid family structure kept him in line. “I was very influenced by my parents and grandparents growing up, they provided a solid upbringing in difficult circumstances,” Abrahams says. The then teenager won over the Sint-Truiden technical team, which at the time included Benni McCarthy and South African-raised Chris O’Loughlin, when he went for a trial in July 2015 and was offered a contract. “It was a dream come true after months of hard work following good, and not so good times. Being a professional footballer in Europe takes total dedication and being focused all the time as competition for places in the team is tough.” Abrahams has been used sparingly at the
start of the 2017/18 season, but did feature off the bench in a famous 3-2 win for Sint-Truiden over champions Anderlecht in August. “It is about taking things one step at a time. My ambition now is to cement a regular place in our first team squad and to get more game-time,” he says. “I believe in myself, so I will just continue to enjoy every minute on the training pitch and on matchday, always try to do the best for my team. If I do that, I know the rest will take care of itself based on my performances.” Abrahams’ versatility is a strength: he can play either as a central attacking midfielder or on either wing, a rarity for usually one-footed South African players. His 18-minute hat-trick coming off the bench against Mechelen in May this year shot him to prominence. “I just played my normal attacking game and luckily everything fell into place on the night,” he says. “My teammates, the coaching staff and the fans were all hugely supportive afterwards.” Asked what he believes is his biggest asset, Abrahams says for him a lot of the game is played in the mind. “Attitude … I always play with maximum enthusiasm, that for me is very important,” he says, before describing his more physical qualities. “My first touch and my speed are also important to the way I play.” Abrahams has yet to catch the eye of national team selectors at any age-group level, but admits that national team representation remains the ultimate goal. “It’s obviously a dream and something I continue to work towards every day,” he says.
Abrahams and his Sint-Truiden teammates after a Pro League Play-off victory.