A Dominican sex worker asks to have her picture taken during a birthday party for a Nigerian student on March 31, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Three women were hired to bring a cake and candles for the party before they left after drinking all of the boys alcohol and getting paid.
The basement apartment, where the party was held, is shared between 9 Nigerians, 5 of them who were brought to Istanbul three years ago by fake “agents” to play professional football, only to find themselves abandoned and broke, battling poverty and unemployment with little chance of ever playing professionally again.
Akeem & Dayo, two Immigrant footballers from Nigeria, ride a bus towards the business district of Aksaray in Istanbul, Turkey. Both players have been in Istanbul for 3 years where they share a room with another player inside a basement apartment that’s home to 9 Nigerians, many who came to play football or attend university.
After 7 months, I’m back in Istanbul to continue my African footballer story and little has changed since I was last here. The mold on the walls is a lot thicker and money is still scarce. This is a small look into my first day with my Nigerian friends as they hide in the shadows of Istanbul, two flights down.