What happens when you cannot play technology? You get caught, and shamefully or boldly match home. After a mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening of Nigeria’s under-17 team, it was revealed that almost half were ineligible to play. This led to 26 team members of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets being sent home.
The team members who failed this test have left the training camp in Abuja. Hopefully, this doesn’t strain the other teammates, as they have a qualifying match for the Cup of Nations U17 with Niger. Fortunately enough, many of the expected 11 to start the match, passed the test.This is an embarrassment to the team giving their victory at last year’s FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile for a record fifth time.
This is actually not the first time such reports have surfaced not just with Nigeria. It’s alleged that some of Africa’s players have fake ages (football ages). Former Nigerian FA president Anthony Kojo Williams told the BBC: “We use over-age players for junior championships, I know that.
“Why not say it? It’s the truth. We always cheat. It’s a fact.
“When you cheat, you deprive the young stars that are supposed to play in these competitions their rights.”
In 2013 Nigeria was left without key players for their Fifa Under-17 World Cup in after failing the same tests. Controversially, USA-based Abuchi Obinwa was one of those to fail the test despite having all the relevant documentation to prove his age.
Fifa introduced MRI scans to check the ages of players at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, which took place in Nigeria. MRI is used to scan the wrist plate of team members to accurately check their true age, with only players between grade one and five of the scan eligible to participate. Players with more advanced bone structure are considered to be adults.