Victor Osimhen, Nwankwo Kanu, and Austin Jay Jay Okocha are role models young Nigerian football talents aspire to follow as they develop as players
Chelsea Legend, Didier Drogba, has sent a powerful message to young Nigerian talents who wants to be like Napoli star, Victor Osimhen, and Legends like Kanu Nwankwo, and Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Soccernet.ng reports.
Renowned football figures and experts are shedding light on a crucial aspect of aspiring players’ careers, underscoring the significance of personal performance as the true driving force behind a successful football journey.
Amidst a backdrop of players often seeking agents to facilitate their careers, these football icons are rallying to redirect the focus onto the field.
Drogba, the former Chelsea star, speaking to Soccernet.ng delivered a powerful message to young talents aspiring to follow in the footsteps of players like Victor Osimhen, Kanu Nwankwo, and Austin Jay Jay Okocha.
He expressed, “Your best agent is not the guy you trust. The best agent you can have is yourself and your performance. This never lies.”
The former Côte d’Ivoire international continued by affirming that exceptional on-field performance attracts clubs’ attention and opportunities, rather than the other way around.
“The more you perform, the more the clubs are coming to watch you play.” he continued, “So, this is something that we should not forget, and we have to tell all the players. Those kids want to become successful. But, they have to perform first. Because now, what I see is that a lot of kids are looking for an agent to find them a club. But, that is not how it works. It is your performance that gets the attention of the clubs or a good agent. Not the opposite.”
The 45-year-old added: “And then, if you perform well, and an agent is coming to see and offer you the dream, then you have to check if he is listed in the FIFA Agent’s list that will be available from the first of October. I think this is how it should work, but we’d keep discussing more about it, and find solutions for you to impact the community the more.”
Watch the video here:
“Your best agent is not the guy you trust”
— Ayomide Oguntimehin (@ayo_oguntimehin) August 10, 2023
In a similar vein, Geremi Sorele Njitap Fotso, known simply as Geremi, former Cameroon international and Chelsea defender, who is now the FIFPro Africa President, shared insights based on his own journey.
He acknowledged the challenges faced by African players, who aim to excel in football and provide for their families.
“African players want to pursue their dreams in football, but also to provide for their families at home. I had some difficult times at the start of my career, but I pulled through because I met a good person, who was supportive. I was lucky.” he said.
Turning attention to the pervasive issue of fake agents, Raymond Hassan, a football scout for Mavlon FC, emphasized the importance of player education.
Hassan stated, “No, I have not [come across fake agents], and I have been educating many players on how to identify fake agents.”
His commitment to enlightening players about recognizing fraudulent agents is aimed at safeguarding their careers and aspirations.
He added: “In most cases players usually come to me that they have sponsorship money that I should link them with agents that can take them abroad, and I will just Educate them with bitter truth”
Olatunji Okuku, the founder of the Triple 44 Academy in Ibadan, Nigeria, shared his perspective on the pressure faced by football academies.
He revealed that these institutions often find themselves in a difficult position, trying to navigate opportunities for their players while contending with the presence of questionable agents in the industry.
“We, the club owners, are also falling into these traps because we are looking for opportunities for our players,” Okuku said to Soccernet’s Managing Editor, Lolade Adewuyi.
Collectively, these voices from the football world emphasize that while agents may play a role, it is ultimately individual performance and dedication that serves as the linchpin of a successful career.