AMBITIOUS GHANAIANS were scammed into thinking they had trials at football clubs in Mauritius last year, a Daily Guide Sports investigation has uncovered.
The players were sent with the promise of a trial abroad and cheated out of thousands of Ghana Cedis for the privilege.
When they arrived in Mauritius, there was no such ‘invitation’ and some have been imprisoned for staying illegally in the country. Our source says the footballers were not of a high standard.
An email from Nazeer Bowud, Treasurer of the Mauritian FA dated 25th March, 2010 says: “There is unfortunately some wrong minded ‘agents’ in Ghana who organize these types of trip for footballers to Mauritius and promise them to use Mauritius as a hub to transit to Europe.”
After arrival in Mauritius, the money they parted with did not lead to the glorious careers they desired, as the ‘invitation’ turned out to be fake. Cash advances provided by hopeful footballers for the ‘agent’ led instead to poverty for their families and extended criminal stays in foreign countries.
Emmanuel Gyimah, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) confirmed the reports as true saying contact had been made with the Mauritian FA.
The fraud continued, and a fake invitation obtained by DAILY GUIDE SPORTS for one Rama Dela Kobla Kudulo states he will be considered “in the context of skills evaluation and eventual recruitment”.
It is unknown how many footballers were duped into taking up the offer in Mauritius but according to Rama’s former coach, Dominic Baltisser, the figure could be over 70.
However, of all the Ghanaian footballers who played in Mauritius, Bowud said “the only Ghanaian player who impressed me and who has played almost two years with us is Ben ABDALLAH. He scored 22 goals within one season and has played in the CAF Confederation Cup till 16th final last year. He is in Ghana now.”
The ‘wrong-minded agent’ promised that Mauritius would be a good platform for future football glory in Europe. The young men were told that their invitation was dependent on parting with their own cash.
The GFA insists though that if a player is offered a genuine trial, they are the asset in the deal. They should therefore never cover any of the costs for their travel, in line with FIFA regulations.
“A legitimate agent always goes through us,” Gyimah said.
A number of budding Ghanaian footballers were returned to Ghana before even getting to Mauritius when their documents were discovered to be fake in a transit country.
It is unknown how they were allowed out of Ghana in the first place.
The Mauritian FA said last year that at least one Ghanaian is in jail having outstayed his welcome in the country. Some have since been sent back, and others could be hiding illegally in the country.
Bowud emphasised, “Please bear in mind that for a player to come to Mauritius for trial, he must have a sports or business visa so that if he is good he can stay and the club can apply for his work permit without having to return back and come again after work permit procedures are completed. It is quite complicated if it is not well organized before.”
The invited player in this case, Rama Kudulo, wanted to take up the offer and would have were it not for the advice his former coach gave.
The prospect of a successful football career is extremely attractive to young Ghanaians, and this desire was exploited.
“He was very disappointed when he got to know and I showed him online. I made him promise he wouldn’t go ahead,” Baltisser explained.
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