Old alliances were regenerated in the heat of battle at Blacktown Football Park last Saturday when Abdelrahman Kuku faced a visit from his former mentor, historic ex-Wanderer and footballing idol Michael Beauchamp.They say never to meet your heroes, but it was a special case for Kuku and his teammates when they defeated the club’s inaugural captain on the weekend: a player many of which had worshipped when growing up.
None more so than Kuku, who grew up in the same Wakely district as Beauchamp after arriving in Western Sydney from Egypt in 2004 with his Sudanese parents.
To make the bond even stronger, Kuku was the one-time apprentice of the ex-Socceroo who took the burgeoning young defender from Fairfield under his wing when he signed for Bankstown City last season.
“It was a big, big challenge to come up against him on the weekend,” Kuku said.
“I’ve always liked the way he plays, he was a very physical player and his understanding of the game is very good.
“I had to pick him up on every corner and did everything I could to make sure he would not score against me.”
What was a special evening for Kuku characterises his incredible rise to the top of the Australian youth football set up.
Three years ago, when Beauchamp led Tony Popovic’s side to a historic Premiership win, Kuku was playing his seventh season of park football for non-league community club Hinchinbrook True Blues.
In fact, he only signed his first semi-professional contract two years ago when he joined Mounties Wanderers.
But fate determined that Kuku and Beauchamp would share the dressing room at Sefton’s Jensen Oval last season when the ex-Socceroo and the talented Egyptian-born defender converged at Bankstown City.
“There was me and another young player called Jack Musgrave who played next to Beauchamp on the weekend, he took care of us,” remembered Kuku.
“He always told us to be confident and not to hesitate about what we were doing. He kept saying there’s nothing wrong in football, every choice you make is the right choice.”
Kuku says he will build his career around Beauchamp’s words of wisdom. In what seemed one final inevitable smile of fate for both parties, the Wanderers academy signed Kuku in 2015 on the advice of the inaugural skipper, and it is now fitting that the Egypt-born defender follows in his heroes footsteps.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to be signed by the Wanderers. I was a Wanderers fan growing up and I always will be.”
You can see Kuku and his teammates in action in the PS4 NPL2. Their next home match is against Macarthur Rams on Saturday 9 July at Blacktown Football Park. Kick-off is 3pm.