The 2018/19 Premier League season has just ended and this season we just witnessed a remarkable feat which has never happened before in any of the top European leagues, which is the top 3 scorers in the Premier League all being Africans. Even though football has become a much more global hub of talent, could we see an even bigger search for young African talents? With world talents such as Saido Mane, Mohammed Salah and Kalidou Koulibaly lighting up the continent, we could be seeing a golden age in African Football. Given the size of the continent and the talent pool to choose from, scouts and football agents such as Chris Nathaniel have been diverting their interests into exploring the African playing fields to discover untapped potential more than ever.
Obviously we have heard various times in the past of there being a golden age in African football such as the 1990’s Nigeria Team which was led by Attacking midfielder Jay-Jay Okocha or the 2006-2015 golden generation of Ivory Coast which boasted superstar talents such as Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure, We have not seen a vast array of African talents dominating the top European leagues like we are seeing right now. With routes to Europe even easier and clear as ever, players from Africa are full of faith and hope that they can make it into Europe and replicate the successes of their superstar Idols who came before them. Some clubs have even gone as far as to set up academies in Africa such as FC Barcelona opening ‘FCBEscola Lagos’ in Nigeria. Africa knows how to produce footballers and thankfully we are seeing that more and more in football today.
However, even with all the world-class talent we are seeing there is always a dark side behind it. Many young African starlets face exploitation which is still a massive problem today. The unluckiest are transported into Europe by extremely dodgy agents, where they are then left without a club, passport and maybe up to £3000. Too many stories end up like this, where young players are recruited from West African nations such as Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal just to be abandoned upon their arrival in Europe. Even though there have been various methods to combat this such as Article 19 where players under 18 cannot legally sign a contract other than their own, it still hasn’t stopped the problem. With the budding emergence of talent of African footballers, there need to be more measures to be put in place to try and stop the exploitation of talent in Africa of the beautiful game.