Taribo West, a Nigerian football legend who disclosed how he has used his experiences to guide young African footballers in an interview with Punch, has stated that he signed slave contracts at Auxerre, Inter Milan.
Taribo West, who joined French Ligue 1 side Auxerre from domestic league side Julius Berger in a highly celebrated move in 1993, disclosed that he had a hellish time at Auxerre having signed a contract without knowing the details.
Taribo said ;
“I played in Auxerre for (almost) free. I was playing under a contract for five years without knowing the contents and conditions binding the contract,” Taribo stated during Footballers Connect, an event aimed at bridging the gap between young footballers, professionals and ex-internationals.
“After the third year, Arsenal, Juventus, Glasgow Rangers, Sevilla and Betis came for me. I went to the coach stating that I wanted to leave but he sat me down, showed me my contract terms with Auxerre. I saw the details of what I had signed. Where my fellow defenders were earning as high as 120,000 French Francs, I was going home with 3000 French Francs.
“I wanted to set Auxerre on fire that day. Immediately, I called my manager, who was turning me left and right (while) enjoying himself in Senegal.
“One day I went to see my coach after training where I met a certain manager who told me that about five clubs were interested in signing me. On the table I saw Arsenal, Juventus, Glasgow Rangers, Sevilla and Inter Milan. He began to make calls and Inter was the destination, I signed the contract papers without knowing its content yet again.”
On young Africans and contracts, Taribo West said;
“Most young Africans sign contracts they don’t know about because they are desperate to play in Europe. I didn’t know too. They need to have lawyers; that’s why the big players use their fathers or brothers as their agents these days. I didn’t know all these during my time.
The first and second managers I had in Europe were the same. It was when I left my second manager that things got better for me. I don’t want our present generation of young players to fall victim too.”