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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:31 am 
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SLAVE CONTRACT!
Submitted by Gbadebo Adewale on 7 March 2009 - 10:52am FOOTBALL WORLD
•How Belgian Agent Almost Lured Away U-20 Star


Gbolahan Fuad Salami is one of the Flying Eagles home-based players who dazzled at the 16th African Youth Championship in Rwanda. The boy who will turn 18 on April 16 attracted numerous interests from European clubs even as the Flying Eagles failed to impress in the championship. He had distinguished himself during the WAFU Cup tournament thus making him one of the prime targets in Rwanda. Among the European clubs that showed interest for the services of the Sunshine Stars ace forward, he chose to go to KV Kortrijk whose agent Angelo Nijskens had convinced the ebony complexioned striker to move to Belgium, but when his Nigerian agents wanted to travel with him to know the details of the contract especially when Nijsken insisted that Salami will undergo trial, the former declined. That was at the point SportsDay went into investigation following the player’s insistence on going with Nijsken. Our Weekend Editor DESMOND EKWUEME presents ANOTHER BLOCKBURSTER, how Nigerian youngster Salami would have been sold to slavery…

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Gbolahan Fuad Salami featured for the Lagos Selected side that played against Ladan Bosso’s team when they were preparing for the Canada 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The game was played at the famous Onikan Stadium and the ebony complexioned attacker stole the show hitting two goals to give his side a 3-2 win but he was not picked by Bosso who had already concluded plans on his team. It was after that game that Soccer Matters Ltd enlisted the boy in the agency and entered into contract with the player after seeking permission of attorney from his mother Alhaja Kudirat Omolara Aduke Salami. He also featured for a Lagos selected side against Samson Siasia’s Dream Team IV during their preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games. He was outstanding in that game scoring two of the goals that got his team a draw in that encounter. He also played against Ladan Bosso’s team again then preparing for the WAFU Cup. In that game SportsDay was told the boy distinguished himself so much so that he was selected to join the U-20 side.
He eventually made the Flying Eagles squad for the WAFU Cup tournament in Warri and justified his inclusion though the team, overall had a woeful outing. While Bosso was preparing for the Rwanda 2009 AYC offers came for the boy but his agents insisted that he plays for the country in the AYC to gain more exposure and probably better offers will come his way. During the AYC offers kept pouring in and there was this offer from Belgium two ex-internationals, Dahiru Sadi and Benedict Iroha were said to have fronted for the Belgian agent, one Angelo Nijsken.



SALAMI: MY STORY

“After the Rwanda AYC I got a call from Dahiru Sadi that a soccer agent from Belgium named Angelo Nijskens wanted to take me to KV Kortrijk, naturally I was interested because I may not get the same opportunity like this during the World Cup. My agents were not too keen about the deal because they said something bigger and better will come once I represent Nigeria at the World Cup. They had contacted several top clubs in Europe who are waiting to see me at the World Cup.
“The agent sent me invitation letter and money for my visa fee but my mother refused and stopped me from going to get the visa in Abuja. She insisted that she had done her own findings and discovered that Belgium has nothing fantastic to offer me because Nigerian players no more seek greener pasture in Belgium with the same passion like they used to in the past.
I insisted and my position created some misunderstanding between my and her. I wanted them to tell me what they have in stock for me and assure me first before I call off the Belgium deal. However I got to know that perhaps there was more to the Belgium deal than meet the eye when my agent agreed to go with me to Belgium and requested for their visa to enable him accompany me. Nijsken refused giving them invitation and the details of the deal were not made known to them.
“Before now there has been a huge quarrel in my family as some of my relations who wanted me to go to Belgium accused my mum of taking arbitrary decision concerning me without seeking their consent. At the end common sense prevailed as my family and I went to resolve the matter with my agent. I actually had to beg for forgiveness, who knows I may have been sold to slavery.”



DAHIRU SADI: My Belgium Friend Lied To Me

“I have a friend in Belgium where I played professional football. His name is Patrick and he was my teammate during my playing days and we have kept close contact even after our playing days. He is a scout to most top clubs in Belgium, he is not an agent. He visited Nigeria during the WAFU Cup tournament where he picked three players and Gbolahan Salami is one of them and requested naturally that I help him to locate the agents or managers of the player which I did and that was where my involvement ended.
“In fact I thought he (my friend the scout) had almost concluded the move of the players (including Gbolahan) to Belgium until you called Desmond. The truth is that he (Patrick) told me that the players are going to sign contracts with clubs directly, he did not tell me that they were going for trials like you said you gathered. In fact I’m really amazed at your revelation which is really startling. I would have objected to the player going for trials because he actually saw the players during competitive games like the WAFU Cup and he was also in Rwanda during the African Youth Championship where he confirmed to me that the boys were simply fantastic even though Nigeria did not win the Championship. So why would he be talking about trials. I am not surprised that Salami’s agent like you said are really not comfortable with the whole thing and it is not there fault for thinking that the whole thing is shoddy. I will call Patrick to ask him why he told me a different thing and he is doing a different thing entirely. Desmond I will call you as soon as I finish speaking with him. I don’t want to be forced to say that he perhaps lied to me but let me reserve my comment until I speak with him. All my life especially as far as my career was concerned I have been an easy going person and I have never been involved in any controversy or scandal. I won’t let anyone soil my reputation or good name. It cost me a lot to build myself and I will guide against anything that will damage my image.”



AGENTS SPEAK

“This is another case of slave contract. But thank God we (Soccer Matters Ltd.) foiled the plot. We all know what happened to Ahmed Garba (Yaro Yaro) with Borrussia Dortmund in the late 90s. We all remember how Wilson Oruma was almost thrown into life contract with RC Lens in 1993. We know of the case of Phillip Osondu and RSC Anderlecht in the late 80s. We are not new in this business so if we see a good contract we can easily identify it.
“We discovered Gbolahan Fuad Salami in 2007 and since then we have been doing everything to better his life and career. We had offers for him in 2007 shortly after discovering him but we turned them down because we wanted him to be exposed to the junior national teams given his talent and potentials and from there possibly better things could happen. Luckily he got noticed by Ladan Bosso after playing against his team when they were preparing for Canada 2007 FIFA World Cup but the coach could not take him to the championship because he already had his team. But during the WAFU Cup tornament preparation Bosso saw him again and invited him for the tournament which he played and fortunately did well to attract offers which we turned down because the offers were not good enough as they just want to capitalize on the boy’s young age to give him a very bad contract as a minor since he was not up to 18 years. That was exactly what we were guiding against.
We want to use this case to once again prove to the world that days are gone when Nigerian players are sold into slavery or even for cheap fee. It is in FIFA’s books that a player must have a representative during the transaction of any deal especially when he is a minor else the player’s guardian or parent could come out later to claim that he was gagged into the contract. The case of John Obi Mikel with Manchester United, Chelsea and Lyn Oslo is still fresh in our memories. When the said (Belgium) deal came, it was amazing to us that the so called Angelo Nijsken could not discuss with us (the player’s agent) or his mother or even club (Sunshine Stars of Akure) since the boy was less than 18. He (Nijsken) went into discussing with the player through the help of two ex-internationals one of who was a member of the technical crew of the U-20 team. Together we believed that they had convinced the boy because they know that he is very young and eager to travel out to seek greener pastures.
“It was youthful exuberance and naivety that drove the boy into discussing with them without our consent but we also felt that they should have advised the boy better than to capitalize on his naivety. But when Nijsken sent his invitation letter from KV Kortrijk we felt it was a serious deal so we played along. We requested to know if the boy was going to sign directly but the Belgian agent said no. He said that Salami will have to go through a trial period. That to us was not proper and unacceptable given the fact that he claimed to have seen the boy during the Rwanda AYC and his Nigerian links had confirmed that the boy was fantastic during the WAFU Cup tournament. We therefore sensed foul-play. We wondered why a player who has been seen in over nine competitive international games would still have to undergo trial in Belgium. Nijsken could not convince us enough so we decided to go with our player to Belgium at least to monitor the so called trial and see things for ourselves. We demanded for invitation letters and visa procurement documents and he (Nijsken) turned down our request but rather intensified efforts to lure Salami to Belgium by sending him money through his Nigeria pals for visa fee. He had also called the Belgian embassy to intimate them of Salami to enable them facilitate his visa faster.
“We alerted Salami’s mother who took our side to stop the trip. It raised some dust but we thank God that things turned out this way because our contacts in Belgium have revealed that it would have amounted to slavery because presently Nigerian players are not regarded in the Jupiler Liga which we already know. In fact Salami would have signed an eight-year contract with about $1000 monthly salary which is against FIFA rules but no one would have made a case for him because it would have been hidden. And of course we all know the chicken fee Belgian clubs pay players. It would have been a blunder. Perhaps Nijsken wants to hawk Salami and in the end he will desperately sign that nasty contract that will see him remain in Belgium for the rest of his life, not necessarily as a footballer at last but may be a fuel station attendant (God forbid).
“We must use this opportunity to advise some clubs in our domestic scene not to be in hurry to release players just for peanuts. Sunshine Stars almost played into the hands of these slave drivers but for our timely intervention. It is time our clubs managers or administrators realized that players must have agents that must represent their interests during contract negotiations. Everything is not money, we must endeavour to protect the interests of our players and package them well for better deals. Our players are often cheap hence European clubs take them for granted and pay them peanuts. This must stop and Soccer Matters Ltd is in the forefront of this war to save the future of the average Nigerian player. We are not just talking about protecting our players but all Nigerian players.”



I NEVER AGREED TO THE BELGIUM DEAL –Sunshine Stars TM, Rasheed Balogun

“I did not agree with Angelo Nijsken for Salami to go to Belgium. I actually told him that if my player must move to Belgium it must be to either Anderlecht or Club Brugges. So when Nijsken came up with KV Kortrijk I was not pleased and I told him my mind. But the whole matter got twisted when I discovered that Nijsken has somehow convinced the boy to go to Belgium. All effort to stop him fell on deaf ears and it seems like we (Sunshine Stars FC) are the ones convincing him to go because of the money we will make from his transfer. It is not true and that is where I fell out with his so called agents who went on to seize his international passport. I intend reporting the so called agents to the NFF because they have no right to hold unto the player’s international passport. It is not lawful at all.
“I did not bring the deal therefore I can not stop a player from going ahead to seek greener pastures especially when he appears desperate. All I am supposed to do is advise the player which I did, so it is rather mischievous for anyone to say that I am pushing the boy to travel to KV Kortrijk which I kicked against. Most contracts to Belgium these days are bad deals and I don’t support my players to go there. As I’m talking to you now Desmond, Peter Rufai’s son is with us here in Sunshine Stars, that is someone whose dad played professional football in Belgium. It is impossible for him to get a deal or club for his son whose mother is a Belgian but things are not moving well for Nigerian players in that country at the moment. I told Salami all these yet he insisted that he wanted to go there. I wonder why anyone will now call me names. I have worked all my life as a football administrator with several clubs. While I was at Julius Berger loads of players moved to Europe. From Sunday Oliseh to Taribo West down to Yakubu Aiyegbeni the list is inexhaustive there was no time I was singled out for blame or probe. I think people should know how to respect others opinion, reasoning and so on. I am a staff of Sunshine Stars therefore I must do things that must first of all favour the club and the players.”



BEN IROHA: I’M NOT INVOLVED

“It is true that a white football agent called me from Europe while we were in Rwanda seeking to move Salami to Belgium. In fact it was the only offer that came the boy’s way because he had a good outing in Rwanda. Everyone around knew, so it was not news at all. When the white guy called from Europe I told him that I am only a coach and not the player’s agent nor guardian.
“After that I don’t know what transpired again but I will advise you Des to call the boy so that he will tell you himself all that he knows concerning the Belgian deal. I hate people spoiling my name or getting me involved in things I know nothing about. Since I returned from Rwanda I have been in Owerri with my club, Heartland. I am still in Owerri as I’m talking to you now Des. I’m not involved in anything like that but I know that plenty of offers came for the boy including the one you are asking me about.
“I must tell you however that these players have a way of hiding things from their parents, guardians and even agents especially when they are desperate to travel. The agent may have something for them but they place their interests somewhere else. They are not trustworthy hence issues like this arise. I will not even be surprised if the said player has traveled without the consent of his so called agents or parents. There are several cases of players sneaking out of camp or homes to travel to Europe only to call for help when they are stranded.
“To answer your question directly Des, I am not in anyway involved in the whole story. I just hope the player will keep his head low to achieve more because he is a good player no doubt, but being a good player is not often a criterion for success. I pray he succeeds in his career.”

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:03 am 
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Yawa don gas now everyone is claiming they are not responsible for the drama at hand. The excuses are the same:

1. DAHIRU SADI:
"All my life especially as far as my career was concerned I have been an easy going person and I have never been involved in any controversy or scandal. I won’t let anyone soil my reputation or good name. It cost me a lot to build myself and I will guide against anything that will damage my image.”

2. Sunshine Stars TM, Rasheed Balogun:
"I have worked all my life as a football administrator with several clubs. While I was at Julius Berger loads of players moved to Europe. From Sunday Oliseh to Taribo West down to Yakubu Aiyegbeni the list is inexhaustive there was no time I was singled out for blame or probe".

3. Ben Iroha:
I hate people spoiling my name or getting me involved in things I know nothing about. Since I returned from Rwanda I have been in Owerri with my club, Heartland. I am still in Owerri as I’m talking to you now Des".

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:16 am 
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Wow i read everything and this is crazy!!!!!!I mean what kind of club is that?With all his talent why would have wanted to opt for such club?These kids needs to pe patient and wait for the right time to strike a good deal.These agents are very foul!!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:58 am 
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Unfortunately we are in the era of agent coaches in Nigerian football....more and more of this type of situations will come to light as deals are botched.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:00 am 
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Geez this is so sad, he is that desperate, he can't even untill after the WYC before he signs with a club, his value might have gone up.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:01 am 
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Too many lies by the principal actors.

1) I am surprised that the guy that tried out for the U20 in 2007 is still 18 in 2009. I am suspicious of his age. Especially knowing how many times he was hawked around.
2) Iroha in the same interview talked of ONLY one offer and later mentioned many offers. He is not consistent. How come it was Iroha that the agent called and not the chief coach. Something is fishy there. Iroha seems not be saying all that he knows. Maybe that's why the NFF are not keen on making him head coach. They all know themselves.
3) Dahiru Sadi's story seems plausible if he claims that he did not know what finally transpired and that he will follow up. If the story is not planted, a day or two to get a feedback from Dahiru Sadi would have given the story more credibility
4) Nothing yet indicates that there is a SLAVE contract anyhwere. Only thing is that the guy was asked to come for trials. That's not out of the world
5) The agent seems to be the one that planted the story. Dont know what his reason will be. It appears as if he is the only 'good' guy in the story. Very doubtful.

All of them together, their head no dey house.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:14 am 
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Thankfully, this deal was botched (or so it seems).
This na real "Oribande" for Gbolahan, as he would have gone the way of some before him.
FIFA needs to be intimated about such deals so that they may be quashed before contracts are executable.
Mister Dolly wrote:
Unfortunately we are in the era of agent coaches in Nigerian football....more and more of this type of situations will come to light as deals are botched.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:23 am 
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This story came to light but there are many others that do not. Our system is messed up because too many people are looking out for themselves and not really for the player. This is another area that will remain problematic until we can fix the NFA. A proper FA will ensure see protection of the players as one of its responsibilities.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:33 am 
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wanaj0 wrote:
1) I am surprised that the guy that tried out for the U20 in 2007 is still 18 in 2009. I am suspicious of his age. Especially knowing how many times he was hawked around.

WANAJO:
Obviously I don't know dude's age, but...
I must have missed out where the article said that he tried out for the U-20 team in 2007.

<

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:36 am 
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Mister Dolly wrote:
Unfortunately we are in the era of agent coaches in Nigerian football....more and more of this type of situations will come to light as deals are botched.

MD:
We have been in the era of agent-coaches since Westerhof...
And the Betty-Hustler-Cologne combo was one of the most brazen.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:38 am 
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Gotti wrote:
wanaj0 wrote:
1) I am surprised that the guy that tried out for the U20 in 2007 is still 18 in 2009. I am suspicious of his age. Especially knowing how many times he was hawked around.

WANAJO:
Obviously I don't know dude's age, but...
I must have missed out where the article said that he tried out for the U-20 team in 2007.

<

Gotti why U gotta be subliminal is a nice way :twisted: ?
He played against those teams as da article said,but oh well.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:41 am 
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Ghost wrote:
This story came to light but there are many others that do not. Our system is messed up because too many people are looking out for themselves and not really for the player. This is another area that will remain problematic until we can fix the NFA. A proper FA will ensure see protection of the players as one of its responsibilities.

What system? :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:48 am 
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omey2k4 wrote:
Gotti why U gotta be subliminal is a nice way :twisted: ?
He played against those teams as da article said,but oh well.

I thought that's what I read as well...
That he was in a Lagos selected side that scrimaged against the FE.

PS: And for whatever it's worth (probably not much)...
A Lagosian seeking mom's permission in 2009 seems unlikely to have been 20 in 2007.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:49 am 
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System as in the process of migrating for greener pastures. System as in identifying talent and grooming them. System as in verifying the true age of players. etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:49 am 
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Gotti wrote:
Ghost wrote:
This story came to light but there are many others that do not. Our system is messed up because too many people are looking out for themselves and not really for the player. This is another area that will remain problematic until we can fix the NFA. A proper FA will ensure see protection of the players as one of its responsibilities.

What system? :shock:


System as in the process of migrating for greener pastures. System as in identifying talent and grooming them. System as in verifying the true age of players. etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:59 am 
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Ghost wrote:
System as in the process of migrating for greener pastures. System as in identifying talent and grooming them. System as in verifying the true age of players. etc.

We do not have any system... :oops:

One has to actually have a system in place before deciding if it is "messed up" or not, and Nigeria presently does not have any. In fact, I doubt if the NFF has a roster of licensed agents (it's own licensed agents, not FIFA's) or has any requirements for licensing agents. Frankly, outside of approaching a player's coaches (or his family or even the player himself). there are simply few (if any) other systemic means of contacting players to discuss transfers.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:05 am 
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omey2k4 wrote:
Gotti wrote:
wanaj0 wrote:
1) I am surprised that the guy that tried out for the U20 in 2007 is still 18 in 2009. I am suspicious of his age. Especially knowing how many times he was hawked around.

WANAJO:
Obviously I don't know dude's age, but...
I must have missed out where the article said that he tried out for the U-20 team in 2007.

<

Gotti why U gotta be subliminal is a nice way :twisted: ?
He played against those teams as da article said,but oh well.



Gbolahan Fuad Salami featured for the Lagos Selected side that played against Ladan Bosso’s team when they were preparing for the Canada 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The game was played at the famous Onikan Stadium and the ebony complexioned attacker stole the show hitting two goals to give his side a 3-2 win but he was not picked by Bosso who had already concluded plans on his team

Luckily he got noticed by Ladan Bosso after playing against his team when they were preparing for Canada 2007 FIFA World Cup but the coach could not take him to the championship because he already had his team.

We can draw different conclusions based on the above. I am just suspicious that the guy was receiving offers as far back as when he was 16. Dont have any proof that's why I did not make any allegation but my alarm bells are ringing.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:02 am 
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This is a complete shame.... I am not surprised one bit...

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