CAF spends millions to curb age cheating

Danny Jordaan (Gallo Images)
Danny Jordaan (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - African football leadership will spend millions and do all it can in an effort to curb age cheating in junior national teams.

This was one of the resolutions made at the recent Confederation of African Football (CAF) symposium in Morocco.

The organisation says there is a need to nip cheating in the bud to promote fair play.

CAF will now explore all scientific and medical ­solutions that could eradicate the problem.

It will also conduct research to help determine the causes of sudden death among footballers, of which the majority are Africans.

Ivorian ­footballer Cheick Tioté was the latest player to die after collapsing during training in China last month.

Giving feedback on the symposium, SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan said the CAF leadership was taking age cheating seriously and would look at ways to curb the problem.

He said it did not augur well for the continent that most junior national teams won age-group tournaments but failed at senior level.

Nigeria and Ghana share five Under-17 Fifa World Cup titles, three and two, respectively.

Ghana also won the Under-20 Fifa World Cup in 2009 and twice lost in the finals.

Nigeria and Cameroon have also won the Olympic football ­tournaments, in 1996 and 2000, respectively.

But, to date, no African country has qualified for the semifinals of the World Cup.

The best an African country has achieved was reaching the quarterfinals – Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.

Jordaan said something was amiss.

“We have not come closer to winning the World Cup and the question is, why is there no progress from the junior teams to the senior teams?” asked Jordaan.

“Age cheating is a big problem for us because it gives competitive advantage to some people, and we have to address it and bring an end to it.

"It doesn’t help us to win junior events and fail at the top.”

He said Safa had started with the screening test as it didn’t want to be caught napping.

“Look at our Under-20 team, it had a few players from the Under-17 World Cup and that is ­continuity and progress. But we are on top of the situation.”

Seven of the players who went to the Fifa ­Under-20 World Cup in Korea graduated from the Under-17 team (Amajimbos) that took part in the 2015 World Cup in Chile.

Jordaan said the continent could only win the fight against over-age cheating if countries stopped putting winning above everything else.

One of the other resolutions made in Morocco is that the number of countries taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations will increase from 16 to 24, starting with the 2019 showpiece in Cameroon.

CAF also announced that Afcon would now take place in June and July, as opposed to the previous scheduling of January and February.

Jordaan said South Africa would also have four clubs participating in the CAF Champions League.

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