Didier Drogba urges better working conditions for African players

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba is calling for professional players in Africa to get better treatment

Former Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba has called on Africa's clubs to improve the treatment of footballers.

The honorary president of the African division of FIFPro was reacting to an employment survey published by the global players' union last month.

The survey showed Africa's footballers are often paid late and are prone to physical and mental abuse.

"Professional footballers in many African countries do not have the clearly defined status they deserve - or any status at all," the 38-year-old said in a statement.

"In Africa, football is not like other jobs. For many players, it's their only source of income and it takes up all of their time.

"Half of the players (in Africa) questioned said they'd had problems getting paid on time in the last two years. That's unacceptable."

In Gabon, which will host next month's Africa Cup of Nations, 96% of players responding to the FIFPro survey reported late payments.

Meanwhile, 40% of players from the 13 African countries surveyed said they lack a written contract, which leads to complications in claiming salaries.

Other issues revealed job insecurity, insufficient medical care and the threat of match-fixing.

Almost a third of Africa-based players also said they did not have a full day off each week.

Geremi
Geremi wants to ensure players are treated fairly in Cameroon

The survey was the largest ever undertaken on working conditions of footballers across the globe, with nearly 14,000 players from 54 different countries providing answers.

"Many African footballers have no holiday entitlement and are left without the medical care they need to do their jobs - this has to change," added Drogba, a two-time Confederation of African Football Player of the Year.

"Africa's professional footballers must be treated as proper employees. Only then will they be able to perform to their best. The continent as a whole stands to gain."

Though born in Abidjan, Drogba's spent the majority of his club career in Europe, where he won the 2012 Champions League and four Premier League titles with London side Chelsea.

Most recently, the former Ivory Coast captain was playing for MLS side Montreal Impact prior to announcing his departure last month.

Drogba has been joined by former Chelsea team-mate Geremi Njitap in entering the world of players' welfare, with the latter now heading up Cameroon's footballers' union.

On Thursday, FIFPro unveiled an interactive world map where users can access information about footballers' working conditions across the globe.