Players fielded for AFCON Under-20 in Niger above 20 years-JE Sarpong

Former Asante coach, J.E. Sarpong, has labeled the under 20 players in the ongoing AFCON Under 20 in Niger as over aged.

Speaking to Nhyiraba Kwabena Asirifi on Total Sports Review on Sunday, the tough talking coach said, when we say under 20 we should go by the name but the act of age cheating has overtaken the shores of Africa including Ghana and sometimes I ask myself are these boys under 20 players?

If you observe a Nigerian under 20 player, and the face of a Nigerian goalkeeper, you will clearly see they are above 20 years.

The coach said age cheating is hurting African football and the fraud has manifested in CAF’s junior tournament.

He underscored the need for Africa to play clean and believes federations across the continent must support each other in that regard.

The practice he lamented will make African teams less productive.

In 2018, Benin’s U17 team was disqualified from the WAFU-B U17 after half of their players failed the test. Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire had one player each sent home.

The mandatory use of Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was introduced by FIFA in 2009 for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to help ascertain whether players are over age or not. MRI is considered to be 99% accurate until the age of 17, after which it becomes harder for medical professionals to calculate a person’s age.

FIFA banned Nigeria from all international fixtures for two years after finding that the birth dates of three of their players in the 1988 Olympics were different from ones used by the same players in previous tournaments.

In 2012, Ghana Under-20 then coach, Orlando Wellington rubbished claims by his Namibia counterpart that he fielded over-aged players in their first leg tie a fortnight ago.

The then Namibian coach, Bernard Kaanjuka, caused controversy in Accra by claiming Ghana’s players were beyond the age limit after his side lost 4-0.

Source: Isaac Mortey (Intern, Rainbow Radio)

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