He dies poor and unpaid

He dies poor and unpaid
'HE HAD GREAT HOPES': Mr Beliby Ferdinand Bengondo holding a picture of his late brother, Salomon Bengondo.

It was a dream of sporting glory that drew talented Cameroonian striker Salomon Bengondo to Indonesia.

But his story ended in poverty, illness and an untimely death.

The withholding of wages by Indonesian clubs has reached "catastrophic proportions", said international players' union FIFPro - and Bengondo is the second foreign player known to have died after going unpaid.

In 2012, Paraguayan striker Diego Mendieta died of a viral infection after he, too, was unable to afford treatment, following months without wages.

Bengondo arrived in Indonesia in 2005.

"He had great hopes," his brother, Mr Beliby Ferdinand Bengondo, told AFP.

Bengondo died in November last year at the age of 32, unable to afford hospital treatment for a mystery illness.

His former club, Persipro Probolinggo, still owed him large sums of money, said his brother and Indonesian football officials.

Bengondo took to the streets to beg in protest with his African teammates in 2012, apparently with little effect.

"The club still did nothing," his brother, 27, alleged.

Mr Brendan Schwab of FIFPro warned that the issue of Indonesian clubs failing to pay players had reached "literally catastrophic proportions".

"We can't think of a country in the world of football where the problems of the players are more pronounced or more serious than Indonesia," Mr Schwab, head of FIFPro's Asian division, told AFP.

It is not just foreign players going unpaid. The Indonesian professional footballers' association said 14 clubs in the country's two top-tier divisions still owe salaries from the 2012/2013 season.

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