Didier Drogba, a former striker for Chelsea, has advised African football players to be wary of phony agents promising fame and fortune.
Drogba has collaborated with the International Labor Organization and the global football players’ union FIFPRO through his foundation to raise awareness of these dangers.
“Be very careful who you trust. Never trust the person who wants your money.” he said this in a video to players.
In a recent survey of 263 players from seven African nations, FIFPRO discovered that more than 70% had been approached uninvited by a person promising to assist them in switching clubs.
43 percent of players approached were offered a trial or a contract with a club; 56 percent did not receive a trial that was promised to them, and 44 percent did not sign a contract that they expected to sign.
“FIFPRO has heard many stories about players being approached by people pretending to be agents that promise to arrange a trial or a contract with a new club,” FIFPRO said in a statement.
Players can find themselves stranded abroad without money to return home in some of the worst scenarios, the statement added.
According to Drogba, young players in particular are in danger because of their eagerness to sign with an agent.
In a video call, Drogba told reporters,
“The best agent is not the guy you may trust, the best agent you can have is your performances. “This never lies. So the more you perform, the more clubs are coming to watch you play.
“What I see is a lot of kids looking for an agent to find me a club. That’s not how it works. It’s the performance that gets the attention of the clubs and good agents.”
As a feature of FIFA’s new guidelines, as of October 1 2023, every football agent should have a FIFA license, which requires breezing through an exam.
A pamphlet with information on how to spot a fake agent, what to look for in a contract, and a player’s rights as a foreign employee is included in the campaign.
“Many of our friends paid their entire family savings, everything they had, but they never played abroad,” Drogba said in his animated video. “Instead, they were left stranded at an airport, or in a shabby space, under a stadium with 20 others, or living under a bridge or even thrown in jail in Asia.
“And I’m not talking about one player. But thousands just like you, with the same hopes and dreams who have been cheated and left with nothing… I don’t want you to be the next.”
One of the most successful African players in Premier League history is the 45-year-old Didier Drogba. He scored 164 goals while playing for Chelsea, which won four league titles and the Champions League. He also won the Golden Boot twice in the Premier League.