The wonderful game of Football as become a multi-billion dollar business over the past decade. And the financial rewards for those with ability are plentiful. That's why in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast football trafficking has become big business. And for the men selling an illusion of football fame to the young boys of these African nations, it's become a place for corruption,dodgy dealings and fraud.
Children of Africa playing football
The African's have always had the ability to produce some of the world's greatest athletes and footballers. Players such as Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Hadji Diouf, George Weah have all graced the streets of these countries with a dream of one day playing on the big stage of Europe and the world.
Didier Drogba celebrating one of his many goals for the Ivory Coast
But what's emerging on the streets of Lagos, Accra and Yamoussoukro today are high levels of fraudulent football agents. Who are stealing large quantities of money from families, in return for arranging football trials for young aspiring footballers.
Unfortunately thousands of young African boys have fallen into the football agent trap of handing over large amounts of cash, believing that trials with major European clubs had been organised, only to find out that on arrival, no trial, and no accommodation had ever been arranged.
Families are giving these so called agents their entire life savings, which is in the region of 2000/3000$.
And the young men involved in these horrifying situations are often left stranded in European destinations with no money, no visa, no accommodation, and completely isolated from the world.
The governing body FIFA and the CAF(Confederation Of African Football) are well aware of this plague taking place within our game, but seem very slow in solving the problem. And even though rules and regulations are in place for football agents regarding professional practice. Nothing is in place for those that are not accredited to act as a agent on behalf of a footballer.
The issue of football trafficking will continue for many years whilst you have young men desperate to play the beautiful game. Football is a vehicle to escape the tremendous poverty in these African countries. And with so much money at stake for those that can prosper. The lure of financial riches and global fame will always be an extremely tempting carrot to ignore.