Former African Footballer of the Year, Freddie Kanoute, has explained how he became a football agent after he retired from the sport.
According to the former Mali striker, he never wanted to become a football agent but he had to go that way because of the unfair treatment meted out to young African players by some unscrupulous agents.
In an exclusive interview with BBC World Service, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla player said some bad agents pushed him into the business.
Kanoute’s 12 Management agency now represents the likes of Red Bull Salzburg and Zambia’s Patson Daka as wells as Mali and Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo.
“It has never been a dream of mine to have an agency or become an agent but I was almost forced or pushed into it,” the 43-year-old told the BBC World Service’s Newsday radio programme.
“I’ve always been involved in youth development in Africa. So I remember since 2005, 2006 when I was still playing, obviously I was very active.
“I was just helping them with equipment and stuff like this and moral support.
“But I realised very early, that some agents were coming and nicking the players and taking them to Europe and then after that they were not accompanying them and looking after them in the right way.
“Sometimes abandoning them as soon as they had a problem. So these players were calling us saying ‘help us’ and so on.
“So when I finished my career, I said look I’m going to carry on helping the academy but I’m also going to set up my own agency.
“Now we can just follow them from A to Z and make sure that the transition is done properly and we prepare them well and the follow up in Europe is done properly.
“I almost exclusively look after the players I have known from a young age.”
Kanoute, who was born in France and played for them at youth level before swapping allegiances, visits Mali on a regular basis and says it is not all about football.