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Thursday, March 17, 2016, Chaitra 3, 1422 BS, Jamadius Sani 7, 1437 Hijri

Dreams of football stardom dashed
Published :Thursday, 17 March, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 17

Nogueira do Cravo, March 16: They dream of being the next Cristiano Ronaldo, but for many budding young stars who arrive in Portugal from Africa and Latin America, Europe's football riches remain an illusion.
Abandoned by unscrupulous agents, some are unceremoniously deported, others left to fend for themselves on the streets. Few top clubs are interested.
Valentine Akpey, 20, trains tirelessly with his fellow Nigerian Sunday Akoh, juggling the ball, passing and repassing, the snow-capped peaks of Portugal's Serra da Estrela mountains in the background.
For two years he has been on the books of Nogueirense, an amateur club in Portugal's third division.
His face drawn, and with well-maintained dreadlocks, the young Nigerian has lofty ambitions.
"I dream of playing for Barcelona, like Lionel Messi. The best football is in Europe, all young Africans want to come here."
He was not even 18 when he arrived in Portugal with other youths, brought over by a Nigerian agent who spotted him while he was playing in the streets of the capital Abuja.    ?AFP

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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