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


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

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

It is because 21 gamers from the unique pool of 30 gamers had been eradicated for failing the next age eligibility checks MRI scans To find out the age of the bones after which take away them from the group, based on BBC Sport.

To make issues worse, 11 of the substitutes drafted into the group additionally failed checks and had 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 based mostly on soccer and most of them come from poor households and backgrounds,” Cameroonian journalist Giovanni Wanh informed 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 more cash.”

Points round age verification are usually not 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 beginning. In keeping with the Morning Star, this was so he may safe knowledgeable 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 below the age of 20.

In keeping with 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 residing… I used to be hungry.”

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

Nevertheless, the difficulty of participant age stays significantly prevalent in some international locations corresponding to Cameroon and its neighbors.

Famously identified, 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 verify 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 below scrutiny over the ages of their two Cup-winning groups.

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

“I remorse to say this up to now, we’ve coaches making an attempt to play on the rostrum moderately than take into account the entire thought of ​​having an under-17 or under-19 group as a improvement group,” Gomezgani Zakazaka, Malawi Soccer Federation’s Head of Competitions and Communications, informed CNN Sport. .

“I imply, we had 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 group? These are questions we as Africa should ask ourselves,” Zakzaka added.

Ivorian journalist Mamadou Gaye goes additional, telling CNN Sports activities: “I even say it will be truthful 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 extremely clear and evident that it was received by dishonest.”

Africa’s love affair with soccer isn’t 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 nearly unparalleled shade and noise to the event.

Nevertheless, in contrast to rival nations in Europe and South America, the vast majority of African nations would not have the expertise pipelines and organizational construction to develop all these children vying to change 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 knowledgeable profession.

This lack of alternative, mixed with an absence of social mobility, signifies that many younger kids and their households consider that soccer might 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 dad and mom trying to capitalize on a baby’s expertise.

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

“[To name] says Wanneh, who explains that the majority 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 control a participant’s age – significantly to make them youthful – and thus seem extra engaging to the nationwide group and golf equipment.

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

Like Cameroon, Malawi not too long ago examined their gamers forward of their qualifiers and needed to drop some from their squad, Instances Group Malawi studies.

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

One other crucial subject was the shortage of beginning certificates. You may have a whole lot of youngsters who play soccer and do not have beginning certificates.”

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

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 the usage of MRI.

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

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

Nevertheless, 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 will not be an evaluation of somebody’s precise age.

“It is not an age limitation and a protocol, however an eligibility protocol, that are two various things,” Ngwenya informed CNN Sports activities.

“You mix in at 18 and 19, nevertheless it’s not solid 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 ladies.

Nevertheless, this MRI software serves as a technique to verify 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, your complete group will probably 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 resulting from one failed check, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was pressured to withdraw from the event as a result of they had been unable to seek out replacements in time after gamers failed their very own checks 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 group within the qualifiers.

Due to the exclusion of Chad and the withdrawal of the Democratic Republic of the Congo resulting from 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 will ship a really sturdy message to the youth constructions in Cameroon,” says Zakazaka.

“It is not enterprise as ordinary the place you simply decide the gamers who will probably be judged based mostly on the paperwork they carry.”

Journalist Jay agrees: “Once we put it out within the open, it will likely be a lesson to everybody. And it is a clear and highly effective message to all brokers, to all dad and mom, 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 beginning 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 a confirmed mechanism for verifying a participant’s age upon registration, as soon as they’re within the FIFA Join system it’s inconceivable to control their information, giving federations corresponding to 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 corresponding to 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 constructions to make sure there may be nothing to do with dishonest within the first place,” Zakzaka says.

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

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