Three Nigerians, Abdul Azeeza, Alfred Adekoya and Victor Ariyo, have been jailed alongside four others for making fake British passports and degrees which they sold for up to £800 each.
Azeeza was an ex-footballer, and at the peak of his career before calling time on it in 1996, was a goalkeeper with a Nigerian Premier League side.
He and two of his countrymen were members of a syndicate selling the counterfeit documents to immigration offenders to help them live illegally in the UK, the Woolwich Crown Court heard on Friday.
But the racket unravelled after an undercover officer placed orders with gang leader Steven Kanaventi, 39.
53-year-old Azeeza was sentenced to four years in jail while Adekoya and Ariyo got 40 months and three years respectively.