Children at Work
Episode 1: Football
Two hundred million children around the world go to work every day. This series explores their everyday lives.
In the first programme, Ousman Manneh looks at the lives of young African footballers and the financial interests that lead to many of them being exploited.
Nineteen-year-old Ousman is originally from Gambia, but now lives in Birmingham, where he regularly plays for Handsworth United FC and trains young British footballers. He travels to Ghana in West Africa to visit some of the football academies where youngsters train in the hope one day of making a successful career in Europe. He discovers how thousands of them fall into the hands of unscrupulous trainers, scouts and agents who exploit their dream of becoming international footballers and take them to Europe, only to abandon them once they have made money out of them.
Luc Rosso, an 18-year-old footballer, explains what happens when things go wrong. Aged 16, Luc was taken to France by a Nigerian agent who'd promised him trials with a Portuguese club. Instead, after taking all the family money, the agent dumped Luc as soon as they arrived in Paris. Luc was helped by Culture Foot Solidaire, a support group set up by Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, a former Cameroonian player, who explains he has helped over 1,800 youngsters in the Paris region alone.
Finally, Ousman visits the Right to Dream Academy, one of Ghana's elite football academies, where 50 boys are educated and trained full time at no cost to their families. Here he meets two boys who, despite being very talented footballers, are encouraged to keep their career ambitions open and not just focus on football. Show less