Former Uganda Cranes midfielder Micheal Azira has revealed his continued desire to support educational needs of young footballers after completing his Master’s degree in the US.
The 33-year-old who turns out for New Mexico United in the USL Championship was at the receiving end of Ken Davies’ generosity, a benefactor that sponsored his education in his early life.
From that kind of background, the former Chicago Fire star is now ready to support young footballers in taking the same journey so that he can “pass it on.”
In an Instagram post on Friday, Azira narrated a brief story of his journey while committing to providing support to the dreamers starting out.
“75% of Ugandan youth drop out of school before they reach secondary school. As a 15- year-old, I was very nearly just another Ugandan dropout statistic. My family of six struggled to provide the basic necessities,” he wrote.
“As money for my schooling ran out I was devastated that my education had come to an early end. I knew the only future I could have would come through an education my family could no longer afford.
“A man named Ken Davies stepped in and not only gave me the gift of education, but the gift of a future. He saw the potential in me and knew I needed support to achieve it. He paid for my education and in return I worked harder than ever to show him he made the right decision.
“I graduated high school and earned a scholarship to the United States. From there I continued to work hard and became the first in my family to graduate college and this past month I obtained my master’s degree. Education gave me the opportunities to pursue sports and eventually my soccer career.
He added; “I have been blessed to play professional soccer for the past 10 years, but it all started with the kindness of a man who saw the importance of education. I want to provide that same support to other Ugandan youth that Mr. Ken Davies provided for me. I want to pass it on.”
Azira featured for Uganda at two AFCON tournaments before retiring about three months ago. He was initially summoned by Coach Milutin Sredojević for the 2017 AFCON in Gabon.
Sebastien Desabre later invited him to be part of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt – helping Uganda reach the round of 16 before losing to Sadio Mane’s Senegal.