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Drogba teams up with FIFPRO, ILO

… to educate African players about fake agents

FORMER Chelsea striker Didier Drogba says soccer players in Africa too often fall prey to fake agents peddling promises of fame and fortune.

Through his foundation, Drogba has teamed up with global soccer players union FIFPRO and the International Labour Organisation to raise awareness about the risks.

“Please, I need you to hear this,” former Ivory Coast international Drogba says in an animated campaign video to players. “Be very careful who you trust. Never trust the person who wants your money.”

FIFPRO recently surveyed 263 players from seven African countries and found that more than 70 percent were contacted unsolicited by someone who promised to help them switch clubs.

Most often, players approached were offered the chance of a trial (43 percent) or a contract with a club (39 percent) – and 56 percent did not get a trial promised to them, while 44 percent did not sign a contract 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 release.

“The reality is less glamorous… In some of the worst cases players find themselves stranded abroad without money to return home.”

Young players in particular, Drogba said, are at risk in their eagerness to secure an agent.

“Your best agent is not the guy you may trust, the best agent you can have is your performances,” Drogba said on a video call this week with reporters. “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 part of Fifa’s new regulations, as of October 1, 2023 every soccer agent must have a Fifa licence, which requires passing an exam.

The campaign includes a pamphlet for players with practical advice such as how to identify a fake agent, what to look for in a contract, and a player’s rights as a foreign employee.

The 45-year-old is one of the most successful African players in Premier League history. He scored 164 goals for Chelsea, capturing four league titles and the Champions League and twice winning the Premier League Golden Boot. – REUTERS.


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