Tuesday Sep 25, 2018. 09:14
Togo coach Claude Le Roy says African football will not reach its potential until ‘slave-merchant agents’ on the continent are eradicated.
The 70-year-old, who is a legend of the continent’s football and famously led Cameroon to the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations title, says he has been battling the problem for more than two decades.
"In a lot of countries there is no competition for under-17 and under-15 just some small academies where the agents are slave merchants," he told the BBC. "Their only target is to sell one player to make a little bit of money."
According to the Frenchman, this issue is infringing on the development of young players on the continent.
"That's not the way you can improve in Africa, you have to build a very high-level of competition for young players," he explained.
"Yes (slave merchants is) a very strong description but the reality is I am fighting against these kind of people for more than 20 years.
"We have to be very strong against this kind of behaviour."
He added, "They (agents) are selling a dream to these young players but they are also cheating the parents. the grandparents or the family who sometimes give money to finance a trip overseas for nothing.
"Players will stay in Africa if there is a good level of competition and good pitches, good balls, good nets, good physios - that's why we have to fight everyday."
Le Roy continued, "Africa has to think about (the fact that) not one team went into the second round (of the World Cup in Russia).
"It is necessary to reorganise football in Africa from the quality of the pitch, the quality of the coaches, the educators.
"There has been no progress, there is no improvement in Africa at this level I think it is even worse than 20 years ago.
"Such huge talent but we need young African educators everywhere (especially) in youth leagues."