Behind every sportsman, there is an agent pulling the strings at the background for a better professional life off the field. These days, few established football agents are more recognizable than the players themselves.
If you’re inquisitive about who an agent is or what their role is? It’s quite simple, the role of agents in sport generally can’t be overemphasized. The business has grown to a level that athletes themselves can’t do without them.
Why? Agents are professional individuals who represent the interest of a player, which includes negotiating professional and juicy contracts anywhere in the world, in other to achieve the best possible outcome for their client.
Europe has some of the best agents in world football and also manages top footballers and coaches. However, looking beyond the shores of Europe there are great agents in Africa who are well respected and know the rudiments of representing their clients professionally in sealing mouthwatering deals both in Africa and Europe.
Today, against the greedy and selfish nature of football agents, this article will look at some of the most influential and powerful football agents in Africa.
- Diomansy Kamara – (Senegal, DK Football Management)
After a successful playing career at Portsmouth, notably Fulham to mention a few. The former Senegal international became an official football agent recognized by the English Football Association.
Since Kamara retired and ventured into becoming a football agent, the mission has been to bring a new approach to sports business management, particularly in advising and supporting young footballers throughout their professional careers.
Apart from being a football agent, Kamara is also a respected consultant for the Canal Plus TV chain, part of the Lagardere group. As a successful international player, he brings his experience and viewpoint to the fore on the platform.
The former Fulham forward is also a specialized commentator, who has worked in the Premier League, the Champions League as well as the African Cup of Nations.
Diomansy helped Nicolas Jackson secure a lucrative deal with Villareal from Casa Sport(Senegal) and a host of other Senegalese players.
- Ojo Paul – (Nigeria, P-Sports Limited)
Paul is a Nigerian football agent, who is registered under the Nigeria Football Federation Intermediary, and he is the founder of ‘P-Sports Limited‘, a sports management agency based in Nigeria and founded in 2016.
Paul is no doubt one among the most respected agents in Africa, having worked with some Nigerian players in the mode of Anderson Esiti who plies his trade in Greece with PAOK FC, Issac Success, Wilfred Ndidi at Leicester City, as well as players and coaches on the home front.
To show how experienced and knowledgeable he is in handling the contract of his clients, Paul was nominated for the ‘Best African Agent‘ of the year award during the 2019 African Sports Award in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This awesome Nigeria football agent is also well renowned for organizing several sports programs in Nigeria, which serves as a template for great agents across the globe to come in and scout for talented footballers. Among some of the programs he has held includes a scouting program at the Goodwill Akpabio International Stadium, and the invitee received at the program was the former Ghana international Willie Klutse, Chairman of Inter Allies FC, and Omar Nasser El-Eter.
According to report, Paul was instrumental in facilitating the purchase of C.D Feirense, a Portuguese football club bought by a Nigerian Billionaire and sports enthusiast Kunle Soname through his Portuguese partner Calisto Tiago in 2015.
Paul is a well-dedicated agent whose priority is to bring the best of offers to his clients.
- Ralph Nkomo – (Zimbabwe, Ralph Sports International)
Nkomo, a Zimbabwe-born South Africa based football agent is regarded as the continent best and has represented some of the best-known names in Africa football.
He’s worked with former Zimbabwe international forward Benjani Mwaruwari, John Utaka, Kanu, and some top players on his management list.
Among some of the impressive things, he has worked with the Portsmouth football club as a chief scout in Africa. The South Africa-based agent is well vast in helping African players secure a professional contract in Europe and Africa.
In brokering deals for his clients, a good business year for Nkomo more often than not see him add up over a million pounds into his account as a percentage for a work well-done.
Working as an intermediary really does comes with great skill, as such Ralph Nkomo got the skill to broker contract and secure endorsement for his clients. When talking about some of the renowned football agents in Africa, Nkomo is certainly a name that comes to mind in the industry allegedly worth over 300m.
- Mike Makaab – (South Africa, Prosport International)
Makaab is a former Orlando Pirates manager with whom he won the CAF Champions League in 1995 and PSL in 1994 respectively before he retired in 1997. He’s currently the CEO of the largest sports agency Prosport International Football Agency in South Africa.
Following his retirement in 1997 as a manager due to his passion for the game and interest in the world of commerce, he decided to venture into the world of football agency in May 1998.
His agency has been one of the best that took the interest of their clients as a top priority, which includes professional guidance, mentorship, off-the-field financial planning, wealth and tax management, public relations, sponsorship, and endorsement procurement.
As a football intermediary, Makaab is considered one of the leading agents on the continent among a host of other agents.
The former manager turned agent has worked with South Africa legend Siyabonga Nomvethe who was his first client to be transported to Europe up till he retired, and currently working with Anele Ngcongca of South Africa who plies his trade at Roeselare (Belgium) with some others in Holland and Germany.
According to Mike in one of his interview with the media,
“Look, I will do just about anything to earn my commission, including take my player’s sick pets to the vet, arrange for a gardener to mow their lawns, and even on occasion, counsel players on how to get over a broken heart after a love affair”
That statement is a testament to the dedication of a man that knows his onions.
- Abraham Luzzi – (Uganda, Businessman)
Businessman and philanthropist Abraham ‘Mr. Economy Luzzi‘ was added to the host of football intermediaries in Uganda when he decided to become a FIFA player agent.
“I decided to become a FIFA player intermediary because I want to help many of our footballers here in Uganda to get exposed. Here, they would get better-paying jobs and this means improved welfare for their families”.
As such, due to the promising growth of the football industry in the CECAFA region and Uganda particularly, Luzzi has been able to use that as an avenue to manage the players of the region in other not to fall into the hands of greedy and selfish agents in Uganda or outside the four walls of Uganda.
Among his reasons for choosing this path as an intermediary was because of his love for the game of football, as well as helping out footballers with viable connections.
- Daniel Eke – (Nigeria)
Just like how great football agents such as Jorge Mendes, Mino Raiola, and Pere Guardiola rules Europe. Eke also rules Nigeria, particularly in the Nigeria Professional League, and he has established himself as one of the finest intermediaries in Nigeria, helping players seal deals in the league.
Eke is well known for his trust, no wonder he’s been able to distinguish himself among other intermediaries who are known to be fraudsters. Being a trustworthy agent, he has been a go-to agent for many players in the Nigeria Professional League.
He’s also well known for breeding youngsters, as such he has been one of the most sought-after agents by many club sides in Nigeria.
Some of the notable players he’s been involved in their transfer include, Cyril Olisema, and Emeka Atulomah to Enyimba, according to report he also has a hand in the transfer of Kelechi Ogoh and Joel Djondang to Wikki Tourists ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
- Karabo Mathang-Tshabuse – (South Africa, P-Management)
In 2007, Mathang Tshabuse the first female FIFA accredited football agent in South Africa decided to open her own agency called P Management which scouts for amateur football players and grooms them to become professional players.
Tshabuse was just 21 years old when she summoned the courage to start her own agency, adding to the fact that there were very few football agents at the time she saw the gap as an avenue to make a difference.
Two years after, she was the first female FIFA licensed football agent in South Africa. As a matter of fact, she was also responsible for setting up the “Association of Accredited Agents” in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In her statement to the media:
“The accredited agents in our country have come together and decided not to be dogs to one another, this is one small way we are trying to curb this dirty murky industry”.
The elegant agent is currently working with players such as the South-Africa international trio of Thembinkosi Lorch, Mbuso Sibisi, Tercious Malepe, Justin Shonga, Francisco Madinga. And a host of other players who plies their trade in the South African League, also not to forget managers like Ian Palmer and Teboho Molo who are under the flagship of her agency.
- Augustine Ramaita – (Kenya, Shujaa Sports Management)
Ramaita is a Kenyan football intermediary who started in 2016, named Shujaa Sports Management, a company that represents and manages sportsmen but mainly focuses more on footballers.
According to Ramaita’s statement when he was interviewed, that in the next five years where did see his agency to be? :
Shujaa Sports Management will be a big player in the transfer business not just in Africa but worldwide”, that is my vision and I want to venture into other sports too, not just football”.
As one of the most influential football agents in Africa, the Kenyan intermediary was involved in the transfer of Kenyan international Francis Kahata‘s move from Gor Mahia to Tanzania giant Simba. John Avire‘s transfer from Sofapaka to Egyptian side Tanta SC, and also has a hand in Duke Abuya‘s and Allan Kataregga‘s move to a new team respectively.
- Yves Tamegnon Amagbegnon – (Ivory Coast, Tamegnon Consulting)
Yves is an Ivorian football intermediary who is well equipped with an excellent sense of contact, he also works with young players who have graduated from the Ivorian Football Federation and approved by the football governing body (FIFA).
The Ivorian specializes in identifying promising young players, his agency also accompanies and helps young players to realize their potential in becoming a professional footballer who could play for some of the best club sides in the world.
Tamegnon Consulting is regarded as one of the most reputable agencies in Africa, that put keen interests in satisfying the need of their clients while ethically respecting and safeguarding the human and sporting values of clients.
The agency works with players such as Ivorian Jean Jacques Bougouhi who plies his trade in Ararat Armenia FC, Burkinabe international Abdul Karim Zoko (Gandzasar Kapan), Ivorian and Malian Cheick Kafumba Toure (Royal Antwerp) Ivorian Willie Dagou (Zurich FC) among other players.
- Michael Sodeke – (Nigeria, Anfieldlane Sports Promotion)
Micheal is the acting coordinator and founder of the Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria (FIAN), he’s also the CEO of Anfieldlane Integrated Services which includes Anfieldlane Soccer School and Anfieldlane Sports Promotion that involved in sports promotion and development of youngsters from grassroots to professional level.
His agency is also involved in representing clients’ interest in terms of transfer move be it Africa or Europe.
Michael a native of Ogun State began the journey of football agency in 2009 and since then he has been involved hugely in the promotion and development of young players to the professional level.
He is known to be a well-trusted agent, as such his attributes of been trustworthy came to the fore in 2018 when he played a huge role in repatriating 10 football trafficking victims who were scammed and left stranded in Cape Verde by a fake agent.
Under the leadership of Michael, FIAN has recorded major achievements which include affiliation with the European football agent Association (EFAA) and a campaign against human trafficking through football.
He has been able to work with Akinyemi Seun (3SC ) FC Ifeanyi Ubah, and Kano Pillars, while Adesina Thomas who is currently under his agency has had a stint with Sunshine Stars, Lobi Stars, and Nasarawa United.
Through his agency, a lot of players have moved abroad which includes more than 10 players, he’s currently working with one under the flagship of his management.
- John Shittu
The renowned football agent, who became popular on account of his role in the transfer saga of John Mikel Obi between Manchester United and Chelsea. Among Shittu’s partners, we can see Jerome Anderson’s SEM, a top sports agency in the UK, and Dan Fletcher, one of the best agents in England.
Shittu is famous for his exceptional work ethics, among the players he managed: Isaac Promise, Chinedu Obasi, Onyekachi Apam, Ambrose Efe.
Alex Ebegbune – (Nigeria, EM Sports Management)
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)