Augustine Ramaita is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Shujaa Sports Management, a company that represents and manages sportsmen but focuses more on footballers.
As an intermediary, Ramaita was involved in Kenyan international Francis Kahata's move from Gor Mahia to Tanzanian giants Simba, John Avire's transfer from Sofapaka to Tanta SC in Egypt as well as Musa Mohammed's move from Gor Mahia to Nkana FC in Zambia.
Ramaita also had a role to play in the transfer deals involving Duke Abuya and Ugandan player Allan Kataregga.
Nairobi News caught up with him for a one-on-one exclusive interview.
What is the role of a football intermediary in modern football?
Football has evolved and players need to focus on the game and let professionals handle negotiations for them, be it with interested clubs or other parties interested in whatever the player has to offer - that is where an intermediary comes in. However, an intermediary also plays an advisory role to the players he represents - you have to look out for them and ensure everything is okay outside the pitch.
How did you get into the business?
I really wanted to become a professional footballer but it never worked out for me and I had to think about what else to do. I tried a few businesses but in the long run football was and is still my passion. I decided to try representing players and I am glad everything fell in place. I enjoy and love my job.
How much money have you made so far? What is the worth of the biggest transfer deal you have ever handled?
(Laughs) I cannot say how much I have made but the fact that I am still in the business means I am comfortable. The most important thing to me is that I enjoy and love what I am doing.
Take us through how you pull through a transfer deal?
In an ideal situation, a club comes to me with their needs. Maybe they are looking to strengthen their defense, midfield or strike force and I give them the options depending on the players I have at my disposal. I send over their CVs and footage and the team settles on who they want. I then talk to the players and they table their demands and I negotiate for official offers from the club. We then negotiate until we come to a consensus. It is a tedious process that takes time and requires patience.
However, at other times, I make the calls and travel to watch clubs outside the country. I then talk to the officials and advise them on what areas they need to strengthen and I pitch the players I think can get the job done.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career journey?
The biggest challenge is most Kenyan players are not honest. They have to trust an intermediary and let him or her handle the transfer business but that isn't normally the case. Most of the time they want to work directly with the clubs once you reveal interest.
The other challenge is that most Kenyan players also don't want to invest in themselves. To move abroad you at least must have marketed yourself well - have footage with video highlights, social media accounts with proper content and that needs resources. Most Kenyans don't want to spend even Sh10,000 on such simple things that can make a big difference in their careers.
What are you working on currently?
It has been very hard to conduct business during this period due to the coronavirus situation because there is a lot of uncertainty. However, things are opening up now and in the next few weeks or so I will have some good news. I don't want to put the horse in front of the cart at the moment.
Where do you see Shujaa Sports Management Ltd in the next few years?
I started the company in 2016 and so far I am proud of what I have achieved. We are not there yet and what is important at the moment is establishing and maintaining the networks within the football ecosystem - that is very key in this industry.
In the next five years, Shujaa Sports Management will be a big player in the transfer business not just in Africa but worldwide. That is my vision and I want to venture into other sports too, not just football.