Cameroon U-17 Football Team: Why 32 Players Were Sent Off For Cheating Age


It has been an issue for the ages nonetheless Cameroonian Nice soccer Samuel Eto’o He appears decided to eradicate him.

Cameroon has accomplished its qualification for 2023 Africa The Nations Cup Underneath-17 Championship with a 2-0 victory over the Republic of the Congo on January 15, however the workforce that received that match was unrecognizable from the workforce initially chosen for the occasion.

It is because 21 gamers from the unique pool of 30 gamers have been eradicated for failing the next age eligibility exams MRI scans To find out the age of the bones after which take away them from the workforce, in accordance with BBC Sport.

To make issues worse, 11 of the substitutes drafted into the workforce additionally failed exams and have been too previous to play within the play-offs.

The expulsion of those gamers adopted the choice of the President of the Cameroonian Soccer Federation (FECAFOOT) Eto’o to check the gamers earlier than the competitors.

“These gamers are primarily based on soccer and most of them come from poor households and backgrounds,” Cameroonian journalist Giovanni Wanh advised CNN Sports activities, explaining why the gamers concerned tried to pretend their ages.

“They need to get youthful to allow them to play longer and earn extra money.”

Points round age verification aren’t new to the world of soccer.

Sir Alf Ramsey, the supervisor who led England to the 1966 World Cup title, has modified his date of delivery. In response to the Morning Star, this was so he might safe an expert contract as a participant after World Battle II.

Brazilian Carlos Alberto was 25 when he received the 2003 World Youth Championship with Brazil, a event for gamers underneath the age of 20.

In response to ESPN, the participant admitted in a tv interview that he lowered his age as a result of “it was a chance for me to make a dwelling… I used to be hungry.”

England's greatest coach, Sir Alf Ramsey, said he was two years younger than him.

Nonetheless, the difficulty of participant age stays notably prevalent in some international locations reminiscent of Cameroon and its neighbors.

Famously recognized, the previous Newcastle United and present defender of Marseille and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Chancel Mbemba has been investigated by FIFA for allegedly having 4 completely different birthdays.

In an interview with The Mirror, he claimed he underwent orthopedic scans to examine his age, and was finally dominated to be born on the day FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee claimed.

Ghana and Nigeria, who’ve seven FIFA U-17 World Cup titles between them, have come underneath scrutiny over the ages of their two Cup-winning groups.

Some observers query the success the groups have had at youth stage, however it has but to be replicated on the senior stage of worldwide soccer.

“I remorse to say this up to now, we’ve got coaches attempting to play on the rostrum reasonably than think about the entire thought of ​​having an under-17 or under-19 workforce as a improvement workforce,” Gomezgani Zakazaka, Malawi Soccer Federation’s Head of Competitions and Communications, advised CNN Sport. .

“I imply, we have been stars on the U-17 World Cup. However what occurred after this? How can we switch our success within the U-17 World Cup to the nationwide workforce? These are questions we as Africa need to ask ourselves,” Zakzaka added.

Ivorian journalist Mamadou Gaye goes additional, telling CNN Sports activities: “I even say it could be honest sufficient for Africa to return all these trophies to FIFA. [the seven U-17 titles won by Nigeria and Ghana]as a result of it is rather clear and evident that it was received by dishonest.”

Africa’s love affair with soccer is not any secret.

At Qatar 2022, followers from Morocco and Tunisia made each match really feel as if it was in Casablanca or Tunisia. And though outnumbered at each match by followers from Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal, they introduced virtually unparalleled coloration and noise to the event.

Nonetheless, not like rival nations in Europe and South America, nearly all of African nations shouldn’t have the expertise pipelines and organizational construction to develop all these children vying to turn into the subsequent Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah.

An excellent sport for its meritocratic values ​​usually turns into a matter of luck in Africa, the place gamers should enterprise out on alternatives few and much between if they’re to carve out an expert profession.

This lack of alternative, mixed with an absence of social mobility, signifies that many younger kids and their households imagine that soccer will be their ticket out of poverty.

This desperation and lack of alternative is fertile floor for gamers to reap the benefits of, be it coaches, directors, brokers and even mother and father seeking to capitalize on a toddler’s expertise.

It’s harder in a rustic like Cameroon, the place a home soccer profession doesn’t present a dependable supply of revenue, one thing Eto’o is attempting to vary by providing a minimal wage for gamers who play in native leagues.

“[To name] says Wanneh, who explains that almost all golf equipment within the nation haven’t any assure of an everyday wage for gamers.

Samuel Eto'o is trying to modernize football in Cameroon, by introducing a minimum wage for top-flight clubs.

With fewer alternatives at residence and a narrowing window to maneuver into extra profitable contracts as golf equipment in Europe scout potential future stars at an more and more younger age, there’s a temptation to govern a participant’s age – notably to make them youthful – and thus seem extra engaging to the nationwide workforce and golf equipment.

In the meantime, officers are having record-keeping points — not solely in soccer but additionally in wider society — in accordance with Zakzaka, who says he has expertise with the issue in his residence nation.

Like Cameroon, Malawi lately examined their gamers forward of their qualifiers and needed to drop some from their squad, Instances Group Malawi stories.

“It is nonetheless a problem to date as a result of we use a handbook course of for registration and record-keeping on this a part of Africa,” Zakzaka advised CNN Sports activities.

One other essential difficulty was the shortage of delivery certificates. You could have lots of youngsters who play soccer and do not have delivery certificates.”

Whereas international locations reminiscent of Cameroon and Malawi have begun to undertake digital delivery certificates, soccer managers in Africa nonetheless face challenges in confirming a participant’s date of delivery.

As a way of verifying a participant’s age, the Confederation of African Soccer (CAF), the governing physique for soccer on the continent, has adopted using MRI.

An MRI scans the participant’s wrist, analyzing a development plate earlier than classifying it from one to 6.

Grade 6 signifies that the participant’s development plate has fully fused with the bones, which often occurs across the age of 18 or 19.

Nonetheless, Thulani Ngwenya, who’s a member of the CAF Medical Committee and was a part of CAF’s implementation of the MRI scan, clarified that this MRI methodology shouldn’t be an evaluation of somebody’s precise age.

“It isn’t an age limitation and a protocol, however an eligibility protocol, that are two various things,” Ngwenya advised CNN Sports activities.

“You mix in at 18 and 19, however it’s not forged in stone so that you can see.”

CAF acknowledges that gamers over the age of 17 can nonetheless move as eligible to play. The scan additionally solely works with boys as the event of the carpal development plate is completely different for women.

Nonetheless, this MRI software serves as a technique to examine the eligibility of gamers and supply an enforceable backside line.

And imposed on him. If a participant fails CAF’s eligibility check in a contest, all the workforce can be disqualified.

Cameroon became the first African nation to beat Brazil in the World Cup last year.

Chad was excluded from the qualifiers hosted by Cameroon on account of one failed check, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was pressured to withdraw from the event as a result of they have been unable to search out replacements in time after gamers failed their very own exams on residence soil, BBC Sport reported earlier within the yr. This month.

By testing its gamers lengthy earlier than the qualifiers, Cameroon was in a position to change those that weren’t certified and select from a workforce within the qualifiers.

Because of the exclusion of Chad and the withdrawal of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on account of ineligible gamers, Cameroon solely needed to beat CAR and the Republic of the Congo to qualify for the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, which they did comfortably.

“For Cameroon to face out publicly, it could ship a really robust message to the youth buildings in Cameroon,” says Zakazaka.

“It is not enterprise as common the place you simply decide the gamers who can be judged primarily based on the paperwork they bring about.”

Journalist Jay agrees: “Once we put it out within the open, will probably be a lesson to everybody. And it is a clear and highly effective message to all brokers, to all mother and father, to everybody concerned within the recreation. Do not attempt to cheat. If you happen to attempt to cheat, not solely will we kick you out, we’ll ban you.” .

As international locations like Cameroon proceed to digitize delivery information, they’re additionally ready to make use of FIFA Join, a database the place federations can register gamers with a novel FIFA ID code, which acts as a digital passport.

Though there isn’t any confirmed mechanism for verifying a participant’s age upon registration, as soon as they’re within the FIFA Join system it’s unattainable to govern their knowledge, giving federations reminiscent of Cameroon and Malawi the flexibility to trace each participant. participant of their ecosystem.

The adoption of FIFA Join, coupled with the rising adoption of digital record-keeping on the continent and confederation presidents reminiscent of Eto’o signifies that the times of ‘dishonest the age’ appear numbered.

“The invoice stops with us as unions as a lot as we put in place buildings to make sure there may be nothing to do with dishonest within the first place,” Zakzaka says.

“[But] I might say that any further, there may be mild on the finish of the tunnel.”

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