FIFPRO Division Africa, the Didier Drogba Foundation and the International Labour Organisation have teamed up to raise awareness about the risks of dealing with fake agents. Former Côte d'Ivoire and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who is also Honorary President of FIFPRO Africa, issues a clear warning to players.
By Didier Drogba
The topic of fake agents is very close to my heart. It is not something abstract. It is something FIFPRO Africa President Geremie Njitap and I experienced ourselves.
When we played matches with our national teams, in Asia, Africa, or in Europe, there were four to five players from Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon or another African country standing on the doorstep of our hotel, left to their own devices, with no money to make ends meet. They were homeless, forced to become beggars.
We would cash in bonuses that we received for those matches and we would give them a few bank notes and that would help them for a few days, but it was only temporary help. It is better that we try to educate them and their parents.
Many young players have dreams about playing in elite leagues, following in footsteps of great players but, unfortunately, these young players get scammed. They have a guy who tells them ‘you’re going to have a great career, trust me’ but the dream becomes a nightmare. They are being scammed, being fooled.
This issue has gone on far too long and the number of fake agents has multiplied. It’s not only about football players: we’re talking about the wellbeing of young men and women who dream of a successful career abroad.
This partnership with FIFPRO Africa and ILO appealed to me because it is the right way of conveying the message; the right advice to those young people, so that they are empowered and better educated, and will not be fooled or scammed.
Players have to be more vigilant. It is very important that players and their parents check that agents are licensed with FIFA. And that is also why FIFPRO has been pushing for greater regulation of agents.
What I see is a lot of kids looking for an agent to find themselves a club. That's not how it works. It's the performance that gets the attention of the clubs and good agents. Your best agent is not the guy you may trust, the best agent you can have is your performances. They never lie. So the more you perform, the more clubs are coming to watch you play.