How to become a football agent in Africa

Nancy Marende

In the football world, pro players are the most recognized individuals, with most of them being household names. 

However, behind the scenes, other professionals are working hard to ensure that the footballers are successful – player agents. 

In recent years, soccer in Africa has gained much traction, with several footballers turning pro. Consequently, this has led to a massive demand for agents to represent the interests of the players. If you want to become a football agent in Africa, below is all the information you need.

What does a football agent do?

A football agent plays various vital roles in the career of a professional soccer player. The first and most important one is acting as the representative and intermediary of the footballer. 

In this capacity, they perform several functions, such as negotiating transfers, contracts, and salaries. 

Additionally, they represent their clients when facing disciplinary issues against their clubs and football governing bodies. 

The player agent is responsible for identifying and negotiating sponsorship and endorsement deals for their clients. They also handle the player’s public relations details and can even act as their spokesperson when dealing with the media. 

On top of that, they help to create a positive image for their clients, thus increasing their marketability, leading to more sponsorship deals. 

Financial planning is another vital service a football agent can offer clients. In this capacity, they can advise them on issues such as investments. 

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They can also provide welfare advice on matters such as buying cars and houses, opening bank accounts, and paying taxes. 

Lastly, football agents are usually part of the professional player’s support circle. They help to mentor footballers, especially the young ones, thus growing their potential. 

A professional mentoring young footballers
A professional mentoring young footballers. Image: unsplash/Adrià Crehuet Cano

They also help to solve various problems their clients may encounter in their personal and professional lives. 

On top of that, they can help the players with issues such as moving to a new country and getting settled in their new clubs. 

How much do football agents earn?

How lucrative are football agent jobs in Africa? Like the rest of the world, African football agents earn a commission (up to 10%) on various deals they make for their clients. 

These include transfer fees, endorsement deals, business deals, salary, etc. 

Therefore, a player agent’s salary is based on the earning potential of their client. If their client is a superstar playing in a big league, they will pocket more money. 

Most agents also manage more than one client, leading to higher earnings. Some of the top football agents in Africa can earn up to $1 million annually

What qualities do you need to be a football agent?

Anyone looking to become a soccer agent in Africa must possess qualities that will ensure their success – and that of their clients. 

Below is a look at some of these qualities:

1. Good negotiating skills 

One of the primary roles of a soccer agent is negotiating deals for their clients – from contracts, transfers, and sponsorships. 

Therefore, as an agent, you must possess good negotiating skills to ensure your client gets the better end of any deal. 

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2. Strong business skills 

Most agents handle the business affairs of their clients, either directly by investing their money or indirectly by offering advice. Therefore, they need good business skills to protect the interest of their clients. 

3. Communication skills 

A person talking on the phone
A person talking on the phone. Image: unsplash/Bruce Mars

Communication is another vital aspect of being a player agent, be it communication with their client, on behalf of their client, or for networking. 

Therefore, you must possess good communication skills to become a soccer agent in Africa. 

4. A good public image 

Handling public relations affairs is another vital role that football agents perform on behalf of their clients. On top of that, the football world is heavily scrutinized and criticized by the governing bodies, media, sponsors, and fans. 

Therefore, an agent must have and maintain an excellent public image, which will, in turn, guarantee a positive image for their clients.

5. A passion for football 

As a soccer agent, you’ll be heavily involved in the football world and your client’s professional and personal life. You also require an excellent understanding of the industry, including what clubs, media, sponsors, and football fans want. 

Therefore, a passion for the sport is vital and can be the difference between success and failure. 

What are the qualifications to become a football agent in Africa?

There are no formal qualifications for football agents. Anyone with the desire can become a soccer agent. The only major requirement you might need is a license from various football governing bodies. 

But while formal qualifications are not needed to be an agent, they can be beneficial. 

For example, a good number of football agents are also lawyers – a qualification that is useful during negotiations and dispute resolutions. 

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On top of that, several institutions and organizations offer various forms of football agent courses. For example, the UEFA Academy has a UEFA Player Agent programme for aspiring football agents. 

In addition, sports management courses offered by various universities can also be beneficial for player agents. 

Football agent regulations in Africa 

You might not need formal qualifications to become a football agent, but you’ll most likely need a license to operate. 

In addition, several football governing bodies have set regulations that any aspiring agent must follow. 

One of the top regulations is by FIFA, which offers a football agent license and accreditation for anyone looking to become an agent anywhere in the world. To receive the FIFA license, you must also pass an agent exam.

You might need further licensing to become a football agent in Africa. 

For example, the South African Football Association (SAFA) has various regulations for agents (or player intermediaries, as they are now being referred to following FIFA regulation changes) must follow. 

The South Africa Under-17 side line-up. Image: Instagram/safa-dot-net

SAFA also offers player agent exams and licenses to aspiring football agents. 

Nigeria is another African country that has regulations for football agents. Anyone looking to become a soccer agent must apply to the Nigerian Football Federation. On top of that, the governing body offers player agent exams in collaboration with FIFA. 

Ghana, another African football powerhouse, also has several regulations for soccer agents. Anyone looking to become a football agent in Ghana must apply to the Ghanaian Football Association (GFA). 

They must also pass the FIFA player agent exam and have a FIFA license. On top of that, the GFA publishes a list of licensed football agents and intermediaries on their website. 

Conclusion 

Soccer agents are vital, not just to professional footballers but to the entire industry. The above information comes in handy if you want to become a football agent in Africa.

The truth is, anyone can become an agent, provided they are licensed. Possessing various qualities that make a good soccer agent can also go a long way in ensuring you’ll be successful. 

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