Yet Another Age Cheating Bombshell Brings African Football Into Disrepute

Yet Another Age Cheating Bombshell Brings African Football Into Disrepute

Keba Mothoagae
October 7, 2022 at 10:33 AM
  • African football has suffered a repeat black eye because of another instance of age cheating
  • This time, it was the turn of Liberia to make the headlines for this never-ending scourge
  • The country's under-17 squad has been disqualified from the qualifiers for the next Africa Cup of Nations tournament in that age group

It isn't a normal year of football on the African continent if there aren't accusations of and the proving of age cheating.

Liberia's under-17 men's national team has been thrown out of the qualifiers for the 2023 U17 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, set to take place in April 2023 in Algeria.

age cheating, liberia, caf, wafu, zeogar wilson, liberia, george weah
Liberia's U17 team (left) with the country's sports minister Zeogar Wilson and FIFA president Gianni Infantino on the right. Image source: BBC Sport Africa & @fatma_saoura.
Source: UGC

As per BBC Africa Sport, this comes after two players in the team failed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that was used by the West African Football Union in line with the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

A disappointed Liberian Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson said:

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"This is totally unacceptable to us. It has brought embarrassment to the country. Those responsible must be held accountable."

Wilson's ministry has since launched an inquiry, having also briefed legendary former player and current President of Liberia George Weah. Team Kenya reported last week that the same fate befell Djibouti and Sudan's under-17 men's teams for the same offence.

Article 27.4 of Caf's U17 Nations Cup regulations states:

"If after performing the age eligibility test (MRI) for a participating team and one player was found non-eligible, the participating team will be disqualified."

MRI machines have been used to scan the wrists of players to accurately ascertain their true age, and were first used by the world governing body FIFA at the U17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009.

Cameroonian player accused of being 25 years older than his age finds new club at 26

Joseph Minala, the former Lazio wonderkid accused of reducing his age, has found a new club in Italy.

The Cameroonian midfielder made the headlines in 2013 after reports suggested he was 42 instead of 17.

On his 26th birthday, Minala signed for Serie C side Olbia Calcio for the 2022/23 season.

Joseph Minala was accused of age cheating when he joined Lazio in 2013, but a year later he was cleared by the Italian FA. It was confirmed his real age was 17.

However, the controversy affected his career forcing him to eventually leave the Rome-based club.

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Keba Mothoagae
Editor- Local Desk
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