Football’s broken dreams: the African teenagers sold a Premier League lie | Pete Pattison | Global development

Like thousands of football-mad teenagers in Mali, Aboubacar Sidibé dreamed of one day playing for Chelsea. So when a football manager approached him with the promise of a contract with a club in India – a launchpad, he was told, to the European clubs – he jumped at the chance.

It didn’t matter that he was just 17. Or that he would have to pay the manager more than £2,700. It seemed a price worth paying to kickstart his football career.

Weeks later, Sidibé was indeed playing football abroad, but he was no closer to Stamford Bridge. Instead, he found himself kicking a torn football around a dusty pitch in a country he had never heard of before: Nepal.

“When I arrived it was not at all what the manager had told me … Every time I get in touch with him he says it’ll be OK. But it…

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