From the usual point of view, Viborg has to be on its own on the west coast and now has to show its worth on the West Bank. This is how Kevin Mensah’s former journey is like football player and human being.
A journey that has offered good times and hard times for the 26-year-old runner, but always with a big smile on the lip and with an eternal hunger for improvement – on and off the pitch.
However, it was a completely different kind of starvation that caused the 6-year-old Kevin Mensah to snare the soccer boots for the first time – the sweat trap.
“I participated in Viborg called the Marabou Cup when I played in Viborg Søndermarken IK. My dad took my brother and me along, and it just started to get a lot of chocolate, and then we thought it was fun, he laughed and explained that his mother was not excited about the idea that the sons should play football:
– I’ve heard that my mother was not so happy that we started playing football. She would rather have our focus on school and just be small children, but we liked football and my dad played football himself so he would like us to play.
With little brother as a competitor
In this way, Kevin Mensah’s football career began in Viborg Søndermarken IK where he found out what football was about to act as a child:
“I learned that football is fun, football creates joy and football makes friends. And if you were good, more challenges were waiting.
And goodbye was Kevin, after six years in the childhood club, became part of FK Viborg – a talent project where competition was greater and the possibilities of being matched were better. This resulted in a signed contract with Viborg FF as just 15 years.
However, it would appear that he was not the only one in the Mensah family who had talent for the game with his feet. The one year younger brother, Jeff Mensah, thus made big brother Kevin company in Viborg FF, and it was a little messy to see his brother as a competitor. However, it was a positive form of competition, emphasizes Kevin Mensah.
“It was a fun time to play with someone whom you first and foremost want to protect beyond all limits and which is your flesh and blood. We have had many fun episodes for training. For example, you can stand and shout each other, and your teammates say, “We should not interfere. They are brothers.” Another thing is that we were competitors. In one way or another, I think it is very normal for you to compete with his siblings – whether you play in the same team or what else you do. For Jeff and my neighbor, I think it helped to make us feel better.
Little brother Jeff plays a big part in the story of Kevin Mensah. In the childhood home in Viborg, there were always the two who met together with the four-year-old older sister. At many points, their lives overlap with regard to friends and interests, and that meant that Kevin in particular was struggling to find something when he was on his own.
“I’m really bad to find something if I’m alone. I clearly remember my parents have told me that if Jeff was playing, I always hit and broke the doctor. And when Jeff did not play with me any more, I stopped, he laughs.
Standing on its own in Esbjerg
In January 2015, Kevin Mensah fought farewell to Viborg when life in the cathedral city was replaced with a life on the Jutland west coast at Esbjerg fB. From the familiar to the unknown for Mensah, new challenges were sought.
“In Viborg I knew almost all the fans who stood up on the stand and all the people in town. In Esbjerg I had to stand on my own and could shape myself in a different way than I could in Viborg, where I had been all my youth. Esbjerg was a different challenge, and that was the challenge I was looking for.
And he got the challenge he demanded. The time in Esbjerg was marked by great change in both coaches and players, and personally there was a time when the injuries reported their arrival to the Danish Ghanese. The opposition did not match Mensah – on the contrary. It only made him knock even more.
“Of course, there have been people who have had doubts, if I’ve caused my many injuries, have had the body to become a professional football player. It just made me work even harder in the strength center and on the things I could grow stronger. That is why I stand where I stand today. I have put the extra time in optimizing myself and my body.
Despite the damage and the many coaches, Mensah looks back on time in West Jutland with a smile on the lip and highlights the city, the fans and the people around the club. The positive view of existence, despite the circumstances, characterizes both the person and the player Kevin Mensah. To get the best out of the situation and not let the negativity be taken over. A view of life that comes from his Ghanaian father:
“My father has always been a happy person with a crazy temper. I also have an oxygenated temper, but it takes a lot of time before it is expressed. You’ll probably see it on the football field, and it’s also important to play football. Outside the track, I’m more smiling and just a happy boy who loves life. I appreciate that others are happy and I want to spread the good mood.
New role – same goal
The big smile he has taken to Brøndby IF, where he otherwise got a little dull start on his career in yellow and blue. Kevin Mensah was a tour of the operating table at the end of the autumn in connection with sports trousers, and there was therefore nothing but patience in the first few months of the West Bank. This was not always straightforward, he explains:
“It was a special situation. I was very hungry after getting to the field, but I was not allowed by the physiotherapists. They wanted to build me up and make sure I could manage the intensity that Brøndby coaches and plays with. Looking backwards, it’s probably one of the best things ever happened to me – that I’ve found out what’s important to my body. It just made me stronger.
So far, there have been 16 appearances in the Brøndby sweater, and the goal is to get closer to the starting team all the time:
“In Esbjerg and Viborg I was a profile on the team, and I have not yet been to Brøndby. So far, I have had a different role, but the goal is still the same – hungry after becoming a profile and showing how good I am. All football players want to show themselves as much as possible, but as a person I am optimistic and believe that it will happen at some point.
Despite the friendly exterior and the big white smile, one should not be mistaken for Kevin Mensah, who is facing the opponent on the pitch. It should not be fun to look up and see the attacker in front of you.
“I have a philosophy that if you as a defender face me, it must be a challenging day for you. You do not have to be very funny. You can count on me constantly attacking you. It also reflects my life that there are always challenges. You can always challenge yourself, and I will keep up with that.
This also applies when the tactics and training pass have been replaced with books and exams. Besides life as a football player, Mensah reads international marketing, which serves as an urgent respite when everyday life is about anything else than gegenpres.
“I’ve been very hurt in my career and when you can not train or play football, I’ve found out how important it is to get a break. That is why I study. What I like to study is that I feel that I’m getting better at something. It’s a bit like football. It might be a good thing, when it’s good that you do not sit at home and concentrate on football all the time. In the same way as it may be important to take it easy and focus on something else when it goes bad. It’s all about not just football, and you can also get knowledge of what’s happening around one, Mensah ends and smiles – of course.