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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Ghana coach bemoans exodus of young talent at early age

Ghana U-17 national team coach Samuel Fabin spoke of how fraud and a temptation for easy money hurts the country, in the aftermath of their 2-0 win over Niger in the round of 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 18, 2017 21:21 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Samuel Fabin
Ghana players celebrate after striking a goal during the FIFA U-17 World Cup match against Niger at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai. (PTI)

Scouts are travelling to nook and corner of the world in their quest to unearth the future superstars of the beautiful game.They have spread their search to almost all the countries of Africa as well, where football is the number one sport and youngsters playing ball is ever-increasing.

But while there is abundance of talent, not all of it falls into the right hands.

Ghana, a country that has a huge talent pool, is one such country struggling to hold on to their youngsters as scouts take them away at a young age, something U-17 coach Samuel Fabin believes is a major issue.

“We have abundance of talent in Ghana, like most of Africa. But the problem is most of them leave the country. Not everyone makes it big though.

“It’s important to get the right club, not many get that and they soon fizzle out,” said Fabin after his side booked a place in the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 win over Niger on Wednesday.

So is this an issue that can be stopped? “No. In our country football is a way out of poverty, if parents think their ward has a chance to progress in football, they support him to play,” Fabin added.

Not every move follows a legal path. Some youngsters and their families are conned by the scouts and when they land in Europe there is no trial waiting for them.

Sportswriter Ed Hawkins’ investigate book ‘The Lost Boys: Inside Football’s Slave Trade’ that was published in 2015, undercovers the under belly on dark side of football scouting network.

According to his book, boys from all over the world are sold a vision of being the next big thing but they soon discover they have been exploited. Only few of these young hopefuls actually make it to the academies.

To get his investigation going Hawkins, with the help of Oxford United, devised a fake company to find out how football trafficking works.

The book also reveals how scouts, agents and clubs disregard Fifa’s Article 19, a regulation that prohibits international transfers for those under-18.

Top clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona have faced FIFA wrath for disobeying that rule but while things are tightening up, the illegal trade is still rampant.

Sadly, Fabin and his counterparts from the African continent can’t do much about it.

First Published: Oct 18, 2017 21:19 IST