Fresh age fraud scandal rocks Cameroon as 21 U-17 footballers get disqualified

Cameroon football was in the eye of controversy when 21 members of their Under-17 squad were disqualified over age fraud, as reported by the Daily Mail.

After MRI tests, the majority of players selected for this year’s UNIFACC tournament were disqualified as they failed to clear them. The tests are used to determine a player’s age by scanning their wrists and measuring bone growth, the Daily Mail report stated.

A Cameroon statement read, ‘The Cameroonian Football Federation informs public opinion that as part of the preparations for the UNIFFAC Limbe 2023 tournament, qualifying for the next African U17 Nations Championship, 21 players out of the 30 currently on training have failed at the outcome of the MRI tests. They were immediately removed from the group. Steps were immediately taken for their replacement.

‘This action is the result of strict instructions given by the President of FECAFOOT acting under the mandate of the COMEX, in order to put an end to the tampering with civil status records which have, in the past, tarnished the image of the apex body of the Cameroon football. FECAFOOT urges all actors, in particular educators, to ensure that the ages by category are respected,’ it added.

The African nations have always had their fair share of controversy regarding the authenticity their players’ ages with many allegations pointing towards their success at junior level international tournaments, saying that they had fielded over-age players. In 1989, FIFA had banned Nigeria after it came to light that the birth dates of 3 of their players in the 1988 Olympics were different from ones used by the same players in previous tournaments while in 2019, Equatorial Guinea were disqualified from the Under-17 World Cup after two of their players were found to have been age-cheating.

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