Kicking Goals

Abraham (Manyiel Riel) Majok, Bachelor of Business and Commerce

When Abraham Majok arrived in Blacktown from a Kenyan refugee camp at age seven, he spoke little English and says he was lousy at football. Today, he plays winger/striker for the Central Coast Mariners and has two-thirds of a Bachelor of Business Administration at Western Sydney University under his belt. Here, Abraham tells us how he fits it all in at just 20 years of age.

What does your current training schedule look like?

Pre-season is a busy time. We do two sessions a day, Monday to Friday – so that’s up to four-and-a-half hours a day.

And when did you start playing football? 

My mum signed me up when we came to Australia – she thought it would be a good way to integrate. But I had no idea what I was doing; we got absolutely smashed in my first game and I didn’t want to play again.

Clearly that changed. Did you always plan to go to uni?

Not really. But Mum was always telling me, “You’ve got to have a plan B.” I came to realise that football isn’t everything – and it’s not a long-term career.

Why did you choose to study business at Western? 

Business was the only subject I ever enjoyed at school, so it was a natural choice for me.

And how do you balance work and study? 

I have a rule: whatever I do in football, I put the same energy and focus into studying. I try to get my assessments done early; if I’m travelling with the team, I’ll work on the plane or when I’m at the hotel.

When you signed your first professional contract – then with the Western Sydney Wanderers – did you feel like you’d finally made it?

No, but it was a starting point: it gave me a platform and a chance to push myself. I still feel like I have a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be in life.