For African footballers Russia is a land of false promises


MOSCOW As football’s top stars arrive in Russia chasing World Cup glory, young African players lured to the country with promises of lucrative contracts say that for them it is a place of scams and shattered dreams.

“We are the team of false promises,” said Ismael Soumahoro, who was 16 and playing in Ivory Coast’s top flight when a scout convinced him “football is Africa is good but it would be better to take my chances in Europe.”

Soumahoro paid the scout 3,000 euros ($3,500) only to find, like so many before him, that promises of a spot with a Moscow club disappeared like a mirage.

He ended up training with a local team in the southern city of Krasnodar until his tourist visa ran out, leaving him adrift with no income in a country with frigid winters and a language he could barely…

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