A couple of days ago I received an interesting e-mail by an advertising agency which politely asked me to promote the stuff vanguard is doing.
In all seriousness with the recent activity on my blog and the huge responses I got while doing my kind of World Cup coverage I was still very suprised to be contacted.
I was also discussing the current situation of no african teams qualifying for the final sixteen with some friends of mine. We came to the conclusion that qualifying could easily change the “national mood” of those states, resulting in a boost of the economic situation.
If was pretty convinced the World Cup and soccer in general is a very good thing for these poor states. Because they give people an opportunity. Something to life for. Well, I think i have to re-evaluate my stance now.
In the feature, Vanguard Correspondent, Mariana van Zeller, digs deep into the world of human trafficking for soccer clubs. The story takes her from the dirt soccer pitches of Ghana to the migrant ghettos of Morocco and finally, to black market soccer games in Paris where she interacts with predatory agents (video link below) that have trafficked young soccer players from West Africa and sell them for as little as $500. The agents promise the boys big contracts with European teams and then abandon them when/if their tryouts don’t play out.
Over the last decade there’s been a surge in the number of Africans playing at big European clubs. In 1989 the top English league had only four players from Africa, all of them white Africans. Now the league had 60 African-born players (nearly all of them blacks from West Africa), including Didier Drogba and Michael Essien who’ve risen to become global super stars and incredibly wealthy in the process. It’s no secret where the desperate African boys get their inspiration from – it’s also among soccer officials that young African boys are being trafficked to Europe. Even FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, accused top European clubs of “social and economic rape” in their search for new talent in Africa. Still, little has been done to change this.
Now that the World Cup is in Africa, the issue has never been closer to home. After all, the World Cup is being held in Africa because the future of soccer is very much entwined with the future of the developing world.
Video after the break as always