From football star to begging on the streets of Khartoum
“The word dream is a big word…it is a word that means so much to every one of us. I dream of being a superstar, I know that I have talents and I want to show the world these talents. ”
Christen dreams of becoming an international football player. Originally from Nigeria, the 24 year old travelled to South America and Europe as part of a Nigerian football team. In 2015, he thought he was close to achieving that dream.
Christen was living in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, when he was contacted by a Nigerian man who promised to help him fulfill his dreams. Christen was told that an influential Sudanese man would give him a football contract to train and play in one of the biggest teams in Sudan. Christen accepted the ticket, packed his bags, and came to Khartoum in July 2016.
Upon his arrival in Khartoum, Christen was taken to Wad Madani, located in Al Jazirah State in East Central Sudan; where he found a small and deserted club with football players who all seemed weak and untrained. He let his initial disappointment go and reminded himself that he was there to train, and to become one of the best African football players of his generation. He trained for six months with very little food and coaching. His promised monthly paycheck from the football club management never came.
After six months, Christen decided to tell the football club that he no longer wished to continue training in Wad Madani, and that he wanted to go back home instead. He was told that his contract was for 4 years, despite his insistence that it was for 6 months. He was told he had no choice but to stay in Wad Madani. He panicked and was afraid. He felt trapped in a situation that he had no power to leave. He had no money left, no one to call, and nowhere to go.
Christen was helped by some friends he made in Wad Madani to go to Khartoum. He thought that once he arrived there then he would find a way to return to Lagos. He sold his laptop to cover his food and living expenses in a rundown hotel. Having sold his laptop, he came to his hotel room the following night only to find that his phone and money had been stolen.
“I had to flee the hotel as I couldn’t pay for my room and was afraid to explain that I had been robbed. I slept in the streets of Khartoum. I couldn’t tell my family back in Lagos what had become of me. I couldn’t bear the shame of telling them of my fate. My seven siblings have always been so proud of me as their youngest talented brother who would give them pride when he becomes the international football player he was destined to be. How could I tell them what had happened to me? How could I tell them that I was now broke and sleeping in the streets?”