Updated: May 14
Every year, an estimated 15,000 African football players are trafficked annually with the hope of signing a professional contract in Europe.
Kaazi, a new start-up founded by former football player and entrepreneur Nana Yaw Oppong-Mensah, aims to help football players in Ghana and across Africa to connect to clubs safely.
“Players in Africa need visibility, a standardised and safe platform where they can easily connect to football clubs. We need to create a new ecosystem that works for the football players and their communities” said Nana Yaw.
There are millions of African football talents who dream to become the next football stars and play for a professional football club. Without visibility and the right network, these players can easily become prey to shady recruiters.
As a former football player, Nana Yaw experienced the challenges his mates in Ghana face. After moving to England, he transitioned to football coaching and scouting. There, he realised both the importance and the challenges of implementing a safe environment for football players and decided to build a community platform to empower football players in Ghana and Africa.
How Kaazi works
Kaazi means the ingenuity of the football player mixed with their strong community connection. The name is inspired from the South African football community movement
With its imminent launching of a beta version in August, Kaazi is ready to address this challenge. By offering a platform where football players can create their profile and upload videos of their skills, Kaazi will allow players to share their profile and football skills directly with verified scouts and football clubs.
"The potential of Kaazi is high as it can provide football players in Ghana and Africa with a new opportunity to nurture their dreams without risking a nightmare, while showcasing their talents directly with professional football clubs," said Nana Yaw.
The core of Kaazi’s technology is focused on giving football players visibility. When football players sign up, they can quickly make a football CV, add information on their technical, social and physical attributes. Football players can then upload videos of their skills and match highlights.
Scouts and football clubs
Kaazi is also for scouts and football clubs, enabling them to create their own profile in order to search for new football talents. Football clubs can also list trial matches and opportunities on the platform and share them with football players.
The app is free for footballers to use with a subscription model for scouts/clubs.
All scouts are vetted using a verification system that checks and confirms that the scouts and clubs are genuine. They are also checked to ensure they have a valid scouting license or legal authorisation.
To date, over 1,000 football players from across the continent have signed up to Kaazi's waiting list, according to Nana Yaw. "The response has been very good in general from both players and scouts/clubs. The players are definitely the most excited," he added.
"Kaazi is also coming amid COVID-19, when player recruitment is becoming more digitised due to travel restrictions. Africa has an estimated youth population (aged between 15 and 24) of 226 million people," he said. "Considering Africa’s youth passion for football, apps such as Kaazi appear to be ever more urgent and ever more valuable.
“Dreams are there not just to be fulfilled, but also to be lived. We want Kaazi to be a tool that empowers football players to take informed decisions and that also supports their development."
* Images and image credit to Nana Yaw Oppong-Mensah*
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