Marjolen Nekesa

Marjolen Nekesa: "My agent is refusing to pay me my money"

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Marjolen Nekesa

Marjolen Nekesa plays for the Kenyan women’s national team and Czech champions Slavia Prague. The current top goal scorer of the Liga Zen has been waiting 18 months for her agent, Dzmitry Marholenka, to pay her the money she is owed.

By Marjolen Nekesa

After I graduated from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 2021, I wanted to become a professional footballer. It was important to get an agent because I didn’t have many connections in Europe. I got in touch with Dzmitry Marholenka through a regular visitor of our games. He told me that he had good connections in Europe and could help me get a club. He sounded honest and when I checked his Instagram, I saw he had a lot of posts with players.

The agent told me that FC Minsk were interested in me. I knew nothing about the club, had never heard of Belarus, and didn’t know much about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I watched a couple of videos of the team and it seemed like a good club to start my professional career at. The league also didn’t look too competitive. I arrived in March 2022 and they received me well.

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Marjolen Nekesa at current club Slavia Prague

Unfortunately, not everything was okay. The club had promised to arrange accommodation, but after I arrived, they told me they were struggling due to the economy and the war.

They told me I had to pay for my rent and share a room with a team-mate, who was from Nigeria. This wasn’t a problem for me. But when the end of the month came, I only received a small part of my salary. The club said they didn’t have more money. I was supposed to get 5,500 Belarusian Ruble, but I only received 1,300. And then I also had to pay 650 for rent.

The club’s director told me their money issues would be solved the next month and he would pay me eventually. I believed him. However, the next month it happened again: I only received 1,400. Then I got worried.

My team-mate and I had little money left. We were struggling, we could not really live off our salaries, but we managed to make it work. After training, the club provided lunch, so we only needed to buy dinner from our own money. But we couldn’t afford to buy anything extra.

In May, we received the remainder of our salary for March, but they continued paying too little. After spending three months with FC Minsk, I filed a complaint with the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber. And during the summer of 2022, I moved to my current team, Slavia Prague, in Czechia.

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Marjolen Nekesa

When I left Belarus, I gave my ATM card to my agent because outside the country I would not have access to my Belarussian bank account due to international sanctions put upon the country after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. My agent promised that he would send me my money if the club paid.

At the end of October, a couple of months after moving to Slavia, FC Minsk paid the money they owed me. My agent informed me by sending a picture of my account adding: “your money is here”.

I had agreed with him that he was allowed to deduct his commission, which he did and we also agreed that he would swiftly transfer the rest of my money to me. He allegedly tried different solutions, but he would eventually tell me that they didn’t work out well because “other people” didn’t cooperate.

I had a lot of patience with him. He kept promising that he would give me the money and I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt. Once he sent me 1,000 USD. He told me that he would send more, but he never did. He just kept giving excuses.

Five months ago, I stopped contacting him because it gave me so much stress. I felt frustrated and used. I played in Belarus for four months and received about one monthly salary, which means that I had been working to fill someone else's pockets.

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Marjolen Nekesa celebrates after scoring

I am still waiting for the remaining 4,200 USD. My contract with him expired 1 March. This situation is giving me a hard time trusting other agents who want to work with me. When I signed with this agent, I expected to talk with him about my career and future plans, but we only talked about the money that he owes me.

Fortunately, I am very happy at Slavia. I love it here. The city is beautiful and it is easy to meet people. I've scored 23 goals this season and we are trying to win the double again. My highlight was scoring twice in nine minutes in the qualifying round of the Champions League against CFR Cluj.

I still have a contract with Slavia until June 2025. I am talking with an agent, but I haven't signed with him yet. My advice to other players is to be cautious, and to not blindly trust other people.