Soccer's Lost Boys
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Soccer's Lost Boys

2010, Sports  -   12 Comments
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Ratings: 8.08/10 from 26 users.

It is a proud time to be a young African soccer player. Not only was Africa hosting its first ever World Cup, but for the first time, some of the sport's biggest stars are African. Many of them grew up playing on fields, dreaming of fame and fortune on soccer's biggest stage. Everyone want to go to Europe. That is the hope. But there are those who are exploiting that hope. There is definitely trafficking of young people, which are bold and sold like cattle.

Thousands of young players are being lured from their homelands. Their families conned out of what little savings they might have by predatory agents, making promises that will almost certainly go unfulfilled. The boys are often abandoned, broke and alone. Africa is ripe because Africa is poor. Soccer is glory and soccer is money. Mariana van Zeller travelled from the dirt fields of West Africa, to the immigrant ghettos of Morocco, and finally to the Black Market games of Paris, in search of soccer's lost boys.

Francis Tamba is a 17-year-old, from the West African nation of Guinea Conakry. He's a soccer player, or to the rest of the world, a footballer. He prays to become like Didier Drogba and one day to play for Chelsea. That's his biggest dream in life. Drogba was a goal scoring machine for Chelsea in England. He's a global superstar and a millionaire in many times over. His success has fueled the ambition of an entire generation of young African's, including Francis.

Francis thought he'd taken the first big step towards his dream of soccer stardom. While training in his native Guinea, he was approached by a soccer agent who said Francis was so talented that he could get him a tryout with Atletico Madrid, one of the big teams in Spain. He told him that he should come to Morocco and later he will continue on to Spain. Francis says, "It was the happiest day of his life," but there was a catch… the agent demanded an upfront fee of $4,000 for travel and other expenses. Pinning the family's hopes of Francis, his father agreed to pay. But when Francis arrived in Morocco, the agent disappeared.

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Jar Jar Binks
Jar Jar Binks
8 years ago

Most of the people who wrote these comments have no lives. Except for Heini Mortenson lol.

Heini Mortensen
Heini Mortensen
10 years ago

What's with the "soccer" lol! Stop calling it that! It's just childish :D How about changing American "Football" to "fast-running helmet-rugby".

Jabranpin
Jabranpin
10 years ago

West Africa is a God forsaken place.

Alex Rascanu
Alex Rascanu
10 years ago

It's football, believe me....

Jacek Walker
Jacek Walker
10 years ago

Very strange world that of Africa... People there dying of starvation en masse and young African boys dreaming of becoming a football star one day. Seems that things are not so bad there after all; and to add up some tribes fighting each other with guns ceaselessly over stupidities.
Ah silly me, and I always thought that African main concern were food and water...

dmxi
dmxi
10 years ago

always eerie how our imperial past can be detected in the nuances of narration.....it leaches through our use of language when oozing sympathy regarding the issues of the 'third world' but ignore the still existing rape our system condones on africas inhabitants & earthly riches!