Entertainment August 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

Age is not just a number for these 15 ‘young’ Nigerian footballers sacked for age cheating

Ismail Akwei August 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

August 17, 2018 at 10:20 am | Entertainment

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.

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