Former Super Eagles defender, Pastor Taribo West has used the forum of a youth development project, Footballers Connect, to relive both fond and sad memories of his career.
Taribo recounted how he was playing virtually for free at the start of his career at AJ Auxerre of France, but says he is happy that he was able to make the best of the exposure he gained to make top marks for himself and Nigeria.
Taribo was joined by Hong Kong international, Alexander Tayo Akande in lighting up several minds with their experiences at the maiden edition of Footballers Connect, an initiative of Hay Sports.
Over 200 young footballers, coaches and administrators were thrilled by the experiences of the speakers who shared stories about their travails and success.
During the event, which organizers said is aimed at bridging the gap between youth footballers, professionals and ex-internationals, Taribo revealed that he was a victim of slave contract for close to a decade.
The ex-Inter Milan and AC Milan star said he never understood what he signed as it was written in French which saw him perform in unbearable condition, despite being a cog member of the Ligue 1 outfit.
Taribo further revealed that while he was working hard on the field of play, with false stories of his lavish lifestyle in the media, it was his manager who was smiling to the bank.
The Atlanta ’96 Olympics gold medalist urged young footballers to always seek professional help, especially before making decisions.
He then advised that every footballer should ensure they are properly represented while signing professional contracts else they fall victim.
Taribo revealed: “I played in Auxerre for free. I was playing under a contract for five years without knowing the contents and conditions binding the contract.
“After the third year, Arsenal, Juventus, Glasgow Rangers and Sevilla Betis came for me.
“I went to the coach starting that I wanted to leave but he sat me down and 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 enjoying himself in Senegal.
“One day I went to see my coach after training where I met a certain manager who told me about five clubs were interested in signing me up.
“On the table I saw Arsenal, Juventus, Glasgow Rangers, Betis 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.”