Nigeria’s U-17 national team is going through an overhaul after 15 players were sent packing for failing a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) age test ahead of the U17 Africa Cup of Nations zonal qualifiers in Niger.
Just two weeks before the game against Burkina Faso on September 3, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) pulled a surprise on the 40 players at the training camp in Abuja who were directed to undergo the MRI scan.
According to local media, the players affected include four of the team’s star strikers as well as a highly-rated central defender from Plateau State. Their names were not revealed.
Fifteen more players have been added to the team as a replacement and they will also undergo the MRI age test before they qualify to participate in the tournament.
Age cheating has been a big problem for African countries and the CAF has decided to conduct the age test before every competition. The continental body has already tested 180 footballers competing at the Cecafa-zone for the final competition in Tanzania next year.
Last year, 23 players failed the age test ahead of the qualification for the U17 AFCON in Rwanda.
Age cheating was also a trending topic during the FIFA World Cup in Russia when Nigeria’s first choice 19-year old goalkeeper Francis Uzoho made history by becoming the youngest goalkeeper to ever play at the World Cup.
His age was questioned and that of other African players who looked much older than what was on paper.
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) June 16, 2018
Francis Uzoho is the oldest 19 year I have ever seen in my life ???
— Ebenezer A. Frimpong ?? (@EbeFrimpong) June 16, 2018
Some nigerians will gladly believe that Mbappe is 19 years old but will cast doubts on their goal keeper, Francis Uzoho.
— Davidson™ (@Dahveydson) June 21, 2018
Watching news and they were giving super eagles update showed the eagles training and francis uzoho our 19 year old keeper and my mom asked if he was one of the coaches pic.twitter.com/HHVOdJTfJe
— Israel ???? (@KingIsraeI) June 19, 2018
When the commentator said Francis Uzoho is the first teenage goalkeeper, since……
— Kayceeubah ? (@Kayceeubah34) June 16, 2018
Left is Nigerian keeper #francisuzoho and Right is my Younger brother who Happens to be his Age mate 19..Bros you no go make heaven,you wey fit born my brother.. #CRONGA #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/CTohrMBWCc
— El Chapo (@ITS_GIDEON) June 16, 2018
So Francis Uzoho is 19 but his child will write WAEC next year?
Don’t we serve a living God.
— Dee A. ??? (@AchDoz_) June 16, 2018
Commentator: Francis Uzoho the first teenage keeper in the world cup.
My chest is hurting pic.twitter.com/pUV1pOXr8c
— Dear Sir, (@brnks4real) June 16, 2018
Please don’t say this again before someone decides to investigate this matter! pic.twitter.com/qGS78uobHB
— Es (@slkie) June 16, 2018
must be 19Bc pic.twitter.com/nobHUAvKkF
— ♔KING™ (@Abdulrahmanbs1) June 16, 2018
To all you muppets going on about Francis Uzoho’s age, this is what he looked like in 2013 when he was a 14-year-old in the under 17 camp. Feel free to slap some sense into your own heads since looks is now a determinant for age #Team9jaStrong #SoarSuper… https://t.co/f4yU0WSmeK pic.twitter.com/B10YA356ji
— Colin NOT Collins (@ColinUdoh) June 19, 2018