Djibouti and Sudan disqualified from U17 Nations Cup for age cheating

2 months ago 391

Djibouti's changing room at the Arab Cup in Qatar

Djibouti and Sudan have been expelled from regional qualifiers for the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations after wrist scans showed some of their players were over the age limit.

The Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the wrists of players to accurately ascertain their true age before qualifiers began in Ethiopia.

Cecafa executive director Auka Gecheo said the Confederation of African Football (Caf), the continent's governing body, had approved the disqualification of the two teams in accordance with U17 Nations Cup regulations.

Article 27.4 of Caf's tournament 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."

Six countries will now participate in the Cecafa tournament, which kicked off in Addis Ababa on Monday.

A new draw was conducted over the weekend, leaving both groups with three teams each.

Hosts Ethiopia, Tanzania and Somalia will contest Group A, whilst Group B is made up of Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The tournament in Ethiopia is to determine Cecafa's two representatives at the 2023 U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria, with the finals scheduled for next April also serving as African qualifiers for next year's U17 World Cup in Peru.

Tackling age cheats in Africa

The issue of teams fielding over-aged players has been a major talking point ever since the inception of age-group competitions in Africa.

Poor systems and processes have led to poor record keeping across the continent, which meant birth certificates are often either inaccurate or unavailable.

Accusations of cheating are regularly made - and many of Africa's international successes in junior tournaments have been clouded by allegations of use of over-age players - but methods have been introduced in an attempt to stop it.

World governing body Fifa began conducting MRI scans at the U17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009, focusing on players' wrists to calculate their ages.

Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Sierra Leone have been notable offenders from sub-Saharan nations over the years.

Earlier this year, Ghana were banned from the next two editions of qualifying for the Women's U17 World Cup and fined $100,000 after being found guilty of age cheating.

Source Article