Yuto Kusaba reveals how ex-AC Milan cult hero Keisuke Honda inspired him to play in Kenya

Yuto Kusaba (circled) has revealed how Keisuke Honda inspired him to join Nairobi City Stars.

FKFPL Yuto Kusaba reveals how ex-AC Milan cult hero Keisuke Honda inspired him to play in Kenya

Mark Kinyanjui 08:03 - 14.12.2023

The City Stars forward has further revealed he had to “run away” from his parents in Japan in order to try and fulfill his dream in Kenya.

Nairobi City Stars forward Yuto Kusaba has revealed how former AC Milan and Japan attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda helped inspire him to ply his trade in Africa.

Kusaba joined City Stars from Kenyan Division Two side FC Zenshin after scoring eight goals in 10 appearances but has yet to kick a ball for Simba wa Nairobi competitively, but he is expected to debut in January.

Speaking to Football Zone, Kusaba has revealed how Honda supported developing countries to help solve social issues, which inspired him to want to become a professional footballer in Africa.

“I have always been greatly influenced by Keisuke Honda,” Kusaba said.

“He is a person who has supported developing countries, and if I were to become a professional soccer player in Africa, I would not only fulfill my dream as a soccer player but also help solve social issues like his. I thought that I could also fulfill the image of an athlete who works hard.”

The 22-year-old has further revealed he chose to come to Kenya because there were no Japanese players and the country had the potential to become one of Africa's most economically developed countries. 

However, taking on this new challenge was not an easy task. Kusaba began by saying, "It's a funny story now," and then revealed that there was "strong opposition" from his parents before embarking on his journey.

"There was so much opposition that I was worried that I would be isolated. Even when we talked about it, we were just going on parallel lines, and I felt like my intentions weren't clear, so I decided to run away from home.

“Even though I'm 22 years old (lol). One day, after I packed up my things and moved into a friend's house, preparing to leave Japan for about a month, my parents called me, perhaps because they were worried about me. 

“They understood, and at the same time, they also agreed to go to Kenya because they didn't want to just insulate themselves.

“Now, they are happy that I became a professional in Kenya. Also, although I had to worry and struggle a lot, I am truly grateful that she gave birth to a healthy baby and raised me with love."