Eugene Asike is a Kenyan international footballer who plays for Tusker FC as a defender. The 26-year-old is also renowned for his fashion sense.

Asike spoke to Nairobi News about all things fashion and football.

Who inspires your fashion sense?

I come from a family where everyone is into fashion – from my dad, mum and siblings; so we inspire each other to dress up well. Also dressing up makes me feel good.

Do you aspire to be a model besides being a professional footballer?

(Laughs hysterically)… Not really, but I once walked on the runway when I was showcasing some pieces for Narok Nyc, a fashion house owned by my friend Zeddikiya Lukoye, who is a Kenyan designer based in New York.

Who is your role model and why?

My mum is my role model. She has been through a lot but she has never given up on herself. She inspires me to keep on going and never give up.

Many say football in Kenya is a poor man’s game (with all due respect) but you come from a well off family  but still play the game in the KPL with passion and determination. Your take on that?

I can only say you should chase your dreams and do not listen to other people’s opinions because it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. I personally love the game and I would never trade it for anything. God blessed me with this talent so why not use it to my best ability!

You have had several trials abroad. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken?

I have travelled and been to a number of trials. I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge. From all my travels and contract talks I have learned that you should never settle for less. If the contract is not worth it, then don’t sign it. It is very important to know your value as a footballer.

Who is your favourite local musician or band and have they in any way inspired your fashion sense?

I am a big fan of Sauti Sol. It is easy to relate to their songs because they talk about what’s happening in the society now and the day-to-day struggles or problems that we go through.

If you weren’t a footballer what would you be doing?

(Laughs)… I would probably be a dancer, stylist, or a fitness coach.

How have you been keeping up during these trying times with no league action?

I have been training in the morning to try to stay in shape and reading in the afternoon. I’m currently doing a course on sports medicine and hopefully, I will be certified once I’m done with my exams in a few months’ time.

Who is the toughest strikers you have ever faced?

I have faced really good strikers over the years but five of them stand out. Jesse Were, Allan Wanga, Michael Olunga, Mbwana Samatta, and Siphiwe Tshabalala.

Who is your favourite central defense partner and why?

It has to be Edgar ‘Fighter’ Ochieng. I learned a lot playing by his side and also he gave me a warm welcome the national team. He has played a big role in my career, not only on the pitch but also on how to carry myself as a professional off the pitch.

What do you when not training and playing football? 

I love good food, swimming and listening to music. When I’m not playing football I’m either out eating, swimming or listening to live band music.

Your advice to upcoming Kenyan footballers?

Put God first in all that you do. Also, it is very key to believe in yourself because if you don’t no one will. Work hard to improve on your craft and stay consistent. In football, just like in other sports, it is key to be patient – trust the process because success doesn’t come overnight.