Interview with Michael Sodeke
This article is a collaboration between Mission 89 and the European Football Agents Association (EFAA) as part of a football summer transfer window campaign.
In 2009, Michael Afolabi Sodeke became a player’s agent and since then he has been involved in sports promotion and development from grassroots to the professional level. In 2018, he played a leading role in repatriating 10 football trafficking victims who were scammed and left stranded in Cape Verde by a fake agent with the promise of a trial in Europe.
He is the C. E. O of Anfield-Lane Integrated Services, which includes Anfield-Lane Soccer School and Anfield-Lane Sports Promotion. Michael founded Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria (FIAN), an association responsible for unifying all registered intermediaries in Nigeria. FIAN has recorded some major achievement under his leadership, highlights of which include affiliation with the European Football Agent Association (EFAA) and a campaign against human trafficking through football.
We had a chat with him on his role as a football agent and his thoughts on human trafficking in the name of sports.
- Why did you decide to become a football agent?
- What do you like most and least about being an agent?
- In your opinion what are the three characteristics of a good agent?
- What are three things that young players and their parents should be aware of before signing a contract with an agent or agency?
- It has been reported that up to 15,000 young footballers are trafficked out of West Africa annually (Poli, 2010) on false pretenses to play professionally in Europe. What do you make of this?
- Do football agents have a role to play in safeguarding young players from exploitation?
- What do you make of the new agents’ regulations set by FIFA? What would you like to see changing?
- What education could be useful to agents to do their work even better?
- Which aspect of your work as a football agent makes you the proudest?