The platform that digitizes the hopes of African football – Jeune Afrique

Through CV-videos published on its website, the start-up of entrepreneurs Wesley Mukerinkindi and Gaetan Ekoondo wants to help agents identify young footballers or help them obtain sports scholarships in Europe or North America.

When he left Côte d’Ivoire in 2017, Kouamé dreamed of becoming a professional footballer in an English club. Trapped by a rogue agent, the young enthusiast finally found himself in Sunny Beach, the most important seaside resort in Bulgaria, forced to become the tout of a nightclub.

“They hit me and insult me ​​in the street. I do not have the means to defend myself, ”he told Wesley Mukerinkindi in 2018, while traveling in the city located on the east coast of the country.

Shocked by this situation, Wesley Mukerinkindi understands that the Ivorian is far from being an isolated case. Last November, Doudou Faye, a 14-year-old Senegalese, died in Mediterranean waters while trying to reach Italy, where he had been promised an international football career.

A talented athlete can get recruited on the basis of a simple video

According to the NGO Solidaire Football, more than 6,000 minors – 70% of whom fail – leave Africa each year to try their luck on the Old Continent.


Originally from Rwanda, which his family fled following the genocide in 1994, Wesley Mukerinkindi then joined forces with his Belgian-Congolese friend, Gaetan Ekoondo, a student at the American University of Harvard, to create his start-up.

The objective: to offer these amateurs a chance and « protect them from the clutches of dishonest agents ». Unlike many other underprivileged young people, the young man was able to get a scholarship to Utah State University in the United States at age 19. “I was lucky enough to escape poverty and war and be able to get out of it,” he recalls. We live in a digital world. A talented athlete can be recruited on the basis of a simple video. It was my case ”.

The Search your team platform. © FrenchSportTryouts

This is precisely the objective of its “SearchYourTeam” platform, on which more than 75 videos of amateur players have already been published. Yannick (Togo), Temesgn (Ethiopia), Yusuf (Somalia), Horlah (Nigeria), Kargbo (Sierre Leone)… Athletes reveal their best performances through CV-videos edited by the team of the start-up « FrenchSportTryouts », Created in early 2018 and now made up of 17 people (communication, design, finance, web development, etc.).

Many clubs and universities want above all to recruit young girls

“The original player videos are often poorly edited and the coaches don’t watch them. Outside of the United States, we realized that no recruiting platform existed. Our goal is to show the best of the players and thus to facilitate the work of the recruiters ”, continues Wesley Mukerinkindi. The young company collaborates in particular with the Congolese Football Federation (Fecofa), which sends it videos of its young talents so that they are spotted.


To compensate for the lack of visibility of African athletes, the start-up has established a network with American universities and professional football clubs. Since the creation of the company, nine talents have obtained sports scholarships at American universities, and four have been integrated. “The other five unfortunately did not have enough points at Toefl [un test visant à évaluer l’aptitude à utiliser et comprendre la langue anglaise, indispensable pour intégrer une université américaine] », Specifies the co-founder of the start-up, which intends to expand this type of partnership on an international scale.

26 players have also obtained detections with professional or semi-professional clubs. « Our collaborations with many European clubs (France, the Netherlands, etc.) allow us to organize evaluation courses and place players according to the level of each one », explains the Rwandan entrepreneur. Five players have signed with clubs or agencies. Among them, Cameroonian Pierre Xavier Fonkeu and Belgian-Moroccan Foudil Bouchentouf Idriss have just concluded a partnership with P&P Sport Management, one of the partner agencies.

The young beneficiaries of Search your team, in Paris, in June 2018 © Nolwenn Nicolas

Thanks to the fundraising process that it has just launched, “FrenchSportTryouts” also intends to offer the possibility to young African athletes to realize their dreams. Through public and private funds, the start-up hopes to obtain some 5 million euros.

“A lot of clubs and universities want above all to recruit young girls. But the latter think, wrongly, that they are less likely to be spotted than boys, ”regrets Wesley. The start-up is currently in discussions with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in order to forge a partnership to offer real sporting opportunities and thus limit the risks associated with illegal migration of African sportswomen.

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