Players had to live like beggars after being scammed by fake agents

FIFPRO

FIFPRO is campaigning to alert professional footballers to the danger of fake agents and scammers in the game.

Here, we tell the story of how four Ghanaian footballers were scammed by two football officials of the Zimbabwe football association (ZIFA). Because of this, three of the players were stuck in Zimbabwe for more than seven months, living like “beggars”.

“What was promised to be a dream, turned out to be a nightmare,” one of the players, Francis Adjetey, told FIFPRO.

Earlier this year, Adjetey was looking for a new club. His agent from Cameroon informed him that Zimbabwean club Khaya Africa wanted to sign him for a monthly salary between 1,000 to 1,500 USD and would pay him a signing on fee of at least 10,000 USD. He was told he only needed to pay his trip from Ghana, but those costs would be reimbursed by the club.

Adjetey couldn’t find any information about Khaya Africa on the internet. When he called the telephone number on the club’s invitation, he spoke with two ZIFA officials who said they were the chairman and administrator of Khaya Africa. They told him it was a new, ambitious club and wanted to sign him and three extra players.

When Adjetey and three other players arrived in Zimbabwe in early February, they soon realized that Khaya Africa didn’t exist. They were brought to lower league club Lowveld United, they had to stay in someone’s home and had to pay the officials for “logistics and permits”.

Initially, the players stayed. They hoped their performances would get them to South Africa. But after an argument with the officials, they wanted to return to Ghana. However, only one player managed to leave in time before Covid-19 lockdown.

Adjetey and the two other players left behind experienced many difficulties as they had no money for food, accommodation and new visa.

“We never told people at home, because you feel ashamed. Your first time travelling and then this happens,” said Adjetey, who added that his agent in Cameroon did not respond to his messages. “He never showed he cared.”

The original article can be found here.

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