Nigerian-born former England international, John Fashanu, has cautioned Nigerian parents to avoid handing over their kids to fraudsters disguising as football agents.
He also warned upcoming footballers not to be blindfolded by their high enthusiasm to play abroad.
Speaking to Journalists yesterday in Kano, the former soccer star who played for Wimbledon FC, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, among other clubs, said he was worried that those offering to export young talented players from Nigeria could be 419ners or even kidnappers and ritualists.
Through his initiative: Find a Player, Change a Life, Fashanu is sponsoring 13 kids who are talented in soccer, while Kano state government is sponsoring 88, two players each from the 44 local government areas of the state. In all, a total of 101 players from Kano are being sent out to bigger clubs in Europe.
Fashanu’s deal with Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has attracted many fraudsters who are impersonating the soccer ambassador and defrauding unsuspecting young footballers and their parents.
“Please, please, don’t give your children to people who you don’t know, who call themselves football agents. They will tell you they are invited by the Kano State government but it’s not true. They will also get you a visa and passport but again it’s not true.
“Our children are more precious than gold. Be watchful, because those coming as football agents could be kidnappers, ritualists or 419ners who are after your money -asking for N2 million per player to help you.
“I have opened the football doors in Kano State for agents. In my case, I was invited by the Kano State government. The governor and his deputy have been my very good friends for years and are doing a great job for the state.
“I know that these so-called football agents will also tell you it was the Kano State government, please, stay clear of these agents. I am worried that our young players may disappear and be taken away never to return again, if given to wrong hands,” Fashanu said.
The police recently arrested 30-year-old Gambo Yakubu of the Brigade Quarters in Kano for impersonating Super Eagles Captain Ahmad Musa.
The suspect confessed defrauding more than 15 young players by faking to be Ahmad Musa and selling forms to youths who want to play football abroad for N5,000. Before his arrest he had sold the forms amounting to over N700,000.
It was gathered there are many of these fraudsters or dubious agents in the country claiming to be soccer agents.