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Contact Admin. It probably wasn't a very smart career move for an ambitious year-old centre forward from Nigeria to sign up with a second-rate Albanian league side. But Leonardo Nosa Ineh also had the misfortune to join a club whose president, Rrapush Xhaferri, ran one of the country's infamous pyramid investment schemes. But Xhaferri is now in jail, his assets frozen by the government, and Nosa is stuck in the provincial town of Lushnje without a penny, thoroughly confused, and unable to make so much as a telephone call.
He has to depend on the charity of the equally impoverished townsfolk to bring him food, and holds on to the hope that the middleman, a Greek- Albanian, who coaxed him to Lushnje in the first place, will show up and take care of him. He still hopes, a touch optimistically, to be able to steer Lushnje to the Albanian League Cup and get into European competition next season; either he doesn't know the jig is up, or he just doesn't want to know.
Nosa is the big loser of one of the more surreal tales to emerge from Albania's ill-fated pyramid scheme craze. Quite how he lost all his money is a mystery he insists he steered well clear of the pyramid schemes himself. The chaos left in Xhaferri's wake cannot be overstated. Half of Lushnje, the entrepreneur's home town, is currently living with the other half because their own houses have been sold and the proceeds lost.
The two policemen who arrested Mr Xhaferri two weeks ago had themselves lost all their money to him; as they waited for their detainee to gather his things at his house in Tirana they symbolically shared a last cigarette knowing it would be a long time before they could afford to smoke again. Wild tales abound all over the country. One story - absolutely true - concerns a young man who wanted to get married but didn't have the money to do it.
But, as the young man left the Populli office, he saw the huge crowd of investors outside, yielded to temptation and put all his money back into the scheme. It is almost impossible to find an Albanian who has not put money into the schemes, and only slightly less hard to find one who has actually profited from them.