Cameroon FA have reportedly purged out overage players from their U-17 squad after 21 members of 30 members in training failed MRI tests.
About 44 players were called up by Cameroon FA from eight different clubs for a hearing into alleged age or identity cheating after so many players selected for Cameroon’s U-17 squad failed the test.
Cameroon FA’s President Samuel Eto’o is reportedly keen on eradicating all strands of such scandalous practices in Cameroonian football.
The age cheat was spotted after an MRI test was conducted on the players who have been called into camp for training ahead of the UNIFFAC Limbe 2023 tournament.
MRI tests scans a players wrists and growth of bones to determine the age of the player.
After the incident, Cameroon football governing body issued a statement which confirmed the sad development. The football body also elaborated on the next line of action undertaken by the body to arrest the incident.
”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”, the FA’s statement read.
“They were immediately removed from the group. Steps were immediately taken for their replacement.”
The statement added the move to disqualify erring team members was a follow up of the instructions and order by the President of FECAFOOT, Samuel Eto’o, who has issued marching orders to help purge Cameroonian football of all traces of age fraud and other scandalous practices.
They also urge major stakeholders and players in Cameroon’s grassroot football to ensure strict compliance to extant rules of engagement to avoid hiccups and drawbacks in recruitment processes.
‘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.’
Recently, Cameroonian football have been on the spotlight for the wrong reasons. They have been smashed by torrents criticism for withholding the list of selected players for both their Under-20 and Under-17 teams.
Concerns are also mounting on their squad for this year’s African Nations Championships, with an official list of players still not made public ahead of their opening game on January 16.
Meanwhile, the age scandal in the Cameroon has been a recurrent phenomenon in youth teams in Africa, calling for greater concern. Samuel Eto’o reiterated his resolve to put an to the phenomenon, and help rid Cameroonian football of the uncouth practice.
CAF are also encouraged to commit more resources to the eradication of the phenomenon in Africa.
In 2019, Guinea were disqualified from the Under-17 World Cup after two of their players were found guilty of age-cheating.
Back in 1989, FIFA banned Nigeria from their age-group tournaments 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.