‘I was football ace Pogba’s body double’.
Most football-mad teens dream of catching a glimpse of their heroes from the back of the stands, but for one student his marked resemblance to Manchester United and French World Cup star Pogba delivered a rather different experience.
For a while, friends had been telling Efeme Temienor, a student at Christ the King Sixth Form in south London, that he bore more than a passing resemblance to the French-born superstar. ‘Even my Mum said I looked a lot like him when I showed her a picture of him.’
But 17-year-old Efeme, who’s a keen football freestyler with a raft of head-turning trick moves to his name, thought no more of it until a sports agency he had signed up with asked him to travel to Turin in northern Italy to film an Adidas advert with Pogba. Efeme would be playing the schoolboy Pogba in an advertisement which showed his journey from child to superstar.
"Even my Mum said I looked a lot like him."
But it was not to be, says Efeme. ‘I was in Year 11 and revising for my GCSEs. My Dad said I shouldn’t go and I should focus on my exams. I decided to take his advice and assumed I’d missed my chance.’
But the following month, when his exams where finished, Adidas got in touch again and said the offer was still on. ‘As I was only 15 I had to travel with a chaperone, so I chose my Dad – the person who’d originally said I shouldn’t do the shoot!’
The first filming was in Manchester. ‘Pogba was the first celebrity footballer I’d met,’ says Efeme. ‘I had to keep a cool head. I didn’t want to be a like a child and be star-struck and overwhelmed.
‘I knew I needed to make something out of this. I didn’t want it to just be a case of “I’ve done this”. I needed to get contacts and make it work to my advantage.’
"Pogba was the first celebrity footballer I’d met."
After Manchester, there were 12 more days of filming in the more glamorous surroundings of Madrid. ‘I had my own driver to take me to the studio on the outskirts of the city,’ says Efeme. ‘We got 400 euros a day to spend on food. It was a pretty lavish hotel.’
Fast forward to a Business class at Christ the King St Mary’s in Sidcup, and Efeme’s phone starts vibrating. ‘I click on it and there’s a trailer for the Adidas ad.’
‘It was 30 seconds long – I thought, “I did all this travelling for 30 seconds!”
‘A couple of hours later and I’m in a business lesson again and the actual ad comes up. Everyone looks at me. I’d only just started at Christ the King and I think people hadn’t really believed me when I talked about the ad.’
‘Suddenly it’s everywhere: Sky Sports, YouTube… you name it.’
For Efeme, the experience was far more than a bit of fun hanging out with one of football’s global megastars. He says his payment from the ad is more than enough to see him through university. ‘We got a five-figure sum after the ad was first screened and was told he’d get ‘a bit more’.
He won’t reveal how much he was paid in the end but says the final buy-out fee for his performance was ‘huge’.
Efeme, who’s planning study Business Management at university, says he’s managing to incorporate quite a lot of his Adidas experience into his work assignments at Christ the King, where he’s studying BTEC Business Level 3.
‘I’ve researched topics like whether footballers should be paid more than public servants. And some people have said how come I’ve been paid so much for something so small. People think it’s so easy.
‘But some of those scenes we had to film for nine hours at a stretch, doing it over and over again until it was right. A lot goes on behind the scenes that people don’t know about.’
For more on Christ the King Sixth Form, see http://ctksfc.ac.uk