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Chasing bleak dreams: The African young talent in Europe


The Portuguese Iberian Peninsula located in the southwest of Europe continues to attract more young African and South American talents.

Lured by false promises of lucrative contracts by thieving agents, they are quickly overtaken by the realities of the non-existent luxurious life.

Ansumane Fati, who hails from Guinea Bissau is a clear example. After an abandoned internship with Sporting Lisbon 6 years ago, he is yet to realize his dream. These days, it is shackles under the stands of the stadium which serve as a shelter for him.

To make a decent living, he joined second tier Freamunde. With a salary of 1500 euros, he manages to send some home.

But that, is woefully inadequate.

“My family is very poor. My coming here helped a lot. My father died 3 years ago when I was already here for 2 years. So I found myself responsible for my family, it happens to many other families and players too. There is no work at home and the challenges are huge, this is why coming to play football abroad is our only salvation,” Ansumane said.

As for those who fail, most still prefer to stay back in Europe.

“When the young stars come here to play for a club in Europe and his dream does not come true, he does not find the courage to return home to be confronted with failure. This creates social problems or these young people end up abandoned, they do not integrate in society and this is not beneficial for anyone,” Joaquim Evangelista, Union President of the Portuguese Professional Football said.

More than 1,000 young foreign players are now illegally in Portugal.

According to the NGO Foot Solidarity led by Cameroonian Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, 15,000 young African footballers desire career in Europe every year. Of the number, 70 percent fail at the attempt.