FOOTBALL SCAMS talking with Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah
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FOOTBALL SCAMS talking with Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah

October 7, 2019


There is a story that only a few people
can tell: the one of the young footballers failing to fulfill their
dream and ending up enslaved. In Africa when they talk about football it’s one of the most important sports for us it’s been played everywhere in people’s
bedroom behind it their houses every part of the every area we play football
is very very important. I was just playing it for fun. For most of them, the main dream is to reach the European continent they do everything they can to
make it but most of the time they discover they had been sold a lie by
someone who wanted to make money from their hope. The exodus can turn into a new
frightening form of slavery. Most of our people are just thinking of going to
Europe to make a living I think here in Africa there are a lot of things that we can do
to survive and then become great people maybe when there’s a war and you’re
trying to escape from your country that one you can understand. Then I don’t see
any reason why you should travel from your country who else you know if you
work so hard you can’t make it because here in Africa how many Europeans do you
see here? They all come here to work and then make it here. So why we the people
can’t do what they are doing? We can do best and better. People who travel on the
boat to Italy, Spain and all those. A lot of them die, but some succeed. Maybe 20 footballers go to that process 10 get drowned and die. Five guys are unable to
play football but two play football so those two that play football it is the
picture that everybody sees all the people that go drowned or the people…
nobody sees the picture so those two that succeeded will still motivate other people to
say we will go. There’s this man who came around and he says: “I have an offer for you. So
you have to come. I will take you to Ecuador”. When the agent came I just said
okay “If that is so. then I’m ready for you”. So if I’m ready to go that person will take care of the flight tickets and
everything and he has offered a month that if we go and we make it the man we
take twenty percent of everything now again that’s what made me accept his
offer. Kennedy is a talented footballer Like him, many players often teenagers
believe in intermediaries purpoting to be football agents. He was convinced to fly
to Oman, to Morocco and finally to Ecuador before giving up his dream. He would say that we meet the club president if we got over there. Our visas
are wrong so they have to detain us and do further investigation before they can
bring something up. On his first journey abroad, Kennedy was taken into custody
for one month in Muscat, the capital of Oman. He understood he was scammed for
the first time. Where we are we don’t have access to call anyone. All you
have to do is you have to just wait. We were asking: “So what are we going to do?” and I consulted the other two and we have to come back to… back to Ghana. And the
second time was in Morocco. With this one, I think I got through him through a friend T hat guy has split one of the big clubs
in Ghana before so he was based in there he was playing in the team. Through him he said I should contact this man. This man can make me come there and he will make me get a
club to play. So that was how I got to know the man. We were
asked to pay some amount before our visas can be issued so we paid. It’s around 250
dollars. We paid our own plane ticket. If we paid a plane ticket and we get there,
they would refund it. Well, on our arrival we met that guy. As soon as we met him, he says that unless we give him $100 each before he would take us to where we’re supposed to go… we
contribute him and give him the $300. It’s the dream of playing football. It
blinds them so they are ready to go all out into it. Once there is the desire, the
zeal and the money in it, people wants to push for it and immediately scammers take
advantage of it. We don’t have to go after the agents, we have to let them
come to us: don’t pay money to agents because every agent is in there to make
business. We don’t have anything like agents. We normally call them like
manager. The real agencies if you come they would you give us a place to sleep and everything
everything to eat. He would say that “No”. We even have to cater for our own food. Only a sleeping place is what we are going to get. We couldn’t even get the chance to
train with a senior team because after one month I got another… no this is not what
we were looking for so I was trying to find ways and means to come back. When I
came back to Ghana I waited for some at least one year to
get over these things. After being conned in Oman and Morocco Kennedy
finds a new beacon of hope but the story is not different from the previous ones.
He’s so eager to leave Africa that when he is given a chance, no matter how small
it is, he is ready to pay money again to try his luck. This time he flies to
Ecuador. With Ecuador, the offer was also very good. If you could check from it. But
unfortunately what he said was the same story: you people have to pay your own hotel, your own food, your own transportation for your assign. Now we got like: “Ah, another one again?” We stayed in the hotel, we didn’t do anything. I mean, I call the agents here in Ghana to complain to him what is going. And he said that I
shouldn’t worry. The man is setting things up. So for about two months time, nothing is happening.
We don’t see… we are waisting our time and everything. And he says, yes, he is waiting for the man to send you money And I said: what money? He said that “Oh, he talked to our agent, there is some money they have to transact”. I said “Oh, he never told us that. He said that football is… normally what we call is not supposed to be. If they
could do anything we have to pay them. And I said like, no we didn’t come here to pay, we came here to play. After I decided I don’t know I just came back to Ghana and… this is me. FIFA has said these rules
that they are licences in them that we have to deal with so if you are a young
player and you deal with somebody who is not licensed then FIFA doesn’t come in
because at the end of the day FIFA cannot do anything about that aspect. So I
think that is the education that has to go out more for people to know that. You
cannot deal with people without license. So people who are doing this. come, are
not agents. They are taking advantage of the desire of the boys and the desire to
play football. Football scams are not so unfrequent in Africa. Kennedy was lucky
because he had enough money to come back home. Most of them, don’t. It is not rare
to see them stranded in foreign countries, hoping that one day they will
be able to collect enough money to get home. Victims of football trafficking,
having lost all their savings to overcome financial expenses, can be
easily enslaved by the fraudster that will put pressure on them. But what are the differences that mark European football compared to the African one? Is
there a reason that supports all this eagerness to move abroad? When I first
went to Europe in Italy we have something like “tattica” but here in
Ghana normally you go to the field, you take your positions and they won’t tell
you what you have to do specific on the field. You just do what you know. I think
we need good coaches, good pitch for the players because it also counts. When you
don’t have the best or the quality field you can’t see the best of the players. But there are also a lot of the football players that want to go to Southeast
Asian countries like Nepal, Malaysia, Vietnam,
even if these countries are very low ranked in the in the FIFA… ranking – In the
FIFA ranking. -They still want to go there You play in Ghana and the
club pays you a hundred euro a month. You go to Eastern Europe and then a club pays you a thousand two hundred, a thousand few so it’s just the monthly issue about the
money and then secondly too, the thing that when they already in there,
Eastern Europe, Asia, once they are there is easy for them to get into mainstream Europe
to be able to play football. Is the dream and the desire for them to play football
so anything possible. We are ready to do anything. But this is the normal
situation. Normally there is also a very bad situation, where these people…
they arrive in Nepal, they arrive in Mongolia and they are just left stranded. They have nowhere to go, nowhere to sleep… – Ten, fifteen people go through that process and maybe
one succeeds. So that one that succeeds everybody looks at that one but forget
about the 14 that were scammed and the 14 that went through bad process. So they
see the success story of that one person and forget about all the other 14 that were scammed. They only see the football dream, they don’t see the football slavery.
– Exactly, exactly. – So now that you are living in Italy, you see that Italian politicians are talking a lot about migration, migration problems
etc. Do you think that there is a connection between the increase in
irregular migration flows and the racism in the stadiums? – I’ve experienced a lot
since I went to Italy. I’ve been there for 10 years now. I’m the type that really
don’t thinks about what they do to to frustrate me when when I’m on the field and play but not every player from Africa can tolerate something like that.
Mostly when we travel to a country like UK, France… we don’t normally experience
things like that but in Italy they were… here they really do a lot. In my team they wouldn’t do it to me but they would do it to any other black player that we
playing against. Ghana’s football, however, has just recently been hit by a huge
corruption scandal. The investigative journalist Anas showed in a
documentary important personalities taking bribes. How much is this likely to
jeopardize local footballers careers? What is the reaction of the supporters? – In Africa a lot of people really do corruption in football and this is
something that is going to put a stop to it, because they will never know who is
coming to them or who is going to do an investigation about them.
A fun will go to the stadium thinking his team is going to win and
not knowing they fixed everything already. People support their teams with
their heart so I don’t think you should go and sell a match and
then at the end it will create confusion between the fans. – So after what you’re
telling me, do you think that this corruption scandal in Ghana will push
people more to go to pursue their dream in Europe for football? – No, I don’t think.
I don’t think that is that would I would link to that because this mostly has to
do with the administrators of football and this and… – So people will still
believe in football, in local football? – Yes, I’m sure that if… it depends on how
the government handles it and how finally they clean the FA. Anything they do that
has football attachment has a lot of supports. Someone wants to do business in football, someone to use football to be popular, someone to use football as a
tool to be able to win in politics… There is still a long way to go for African
football. One thing, however, can be immediately done: and is people talking
about this, so that the victims are never forgotten. All the victims of a grand, often unfulfillable dream.

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