Foot Solidaire: An organization protecting young players
In January, a 18 year old Ghanaian footballer, "Azik", arrived in Turkey with a dream to sign a contract to a big club in the country. So at least this is what the 'manager' promised who got paid $2500...
This time, however, 'Azik' with other young footballers survives thanks to a charity in Belediyesi, a neighborhood of Istanbul. The people of the institution offer the stadium of the community three times a week to train these players with the hope to be able to attract a contract from a club.
At the same time, their community lend clothing, and often offer them food after training.
"We want to help them find a team in Turkey," says the mayor of Bosporus.
"I want to go. They bought me an air-ticket and a visa. The manager told me to go to a club in Istanbul and there will be someone waiting for me. I went, but no one there knew me..." says Azik.
The same fate had the Nigerian coach, John Nakpe, who coaches Azik and other Africans. John went to Turkey in summer of 2011 as a "manager" of the promised job when working voluntarily in the "academy" of Besiktas in Nigeria.
"I have wife and two daughters, 9 and 7 years at home, but I can not go back. I have no money to buy a ticket, I have no papers. I'm stuck here, but at least I'm lucky because I work a few hours as a stevedore and at least I make a little money." said John wiping his sweat after the workout.
"I'm here hoping that I can get a job as a coach. I want to be a normal coach, but for now I am a technician who sleeps in the same room -God knows how many- of my players." he adds with a bitter smile.
John currently trains 22 children. "10 of them are good and 5 are very good, able to manage to find a group in Turkey." And the rest? "Difficult, difficult..." says John and lowered the eye ...
"We want them to play in Besiktas, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce or Trabzonspor".
According to the agency «Foot Solidaire», at least 4000 young players come every year illegally from Africa to Europe with a dream to make a career.
«Foot Solidaire», an organization that protects young players from exploitation, reports that every week arising at least 20 cases of football trafficking.
Not long ago, the story of Sky Sports News about the arrest of a "manager" from Cameroon who sold 14-15-year old players for 30,000 euros, was a real example...