Africans losing life savings to agents: charity
By Brian Homewood
AARHUS, Denmark (Reuters) - African families are handing their life savings to false agents who promise their sons a career with a European club but instead leave them abandoned on the street, says a charity which deals with the problem.
Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, a former Cameroon international who heads the Culture Foot Solidaire group, also warned that Africa is awash with ramshackle, unlicensed soccer academies which exist primarily to prepare children for a move abroad.
"In Africa, you have thousands and thousands of academies for which the main goal is to transfer young players to Europe," he said on the sidelines of the Play the Game conference.
"They just want to make money, they don't care about the health of the children," he added referring to academies which are often little more than a dusty pitch by the roadside.
"Anyone can set up an academy with a small pitch, two or three poor-quality balls, and you have 50 young players running here and there," he said.
"There is no changing room, no stadium, no office, no address; they have their office in a suitcase.
"You can have some guys with a phone and computer; they have an email address, they have one coach who doesn't have the skill or qualification to train."