The Under-16 Pan African Schools tournament which was held in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently has prompted South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan to plead with upcoming coaches in the country to eradicate age cheating.
The tournament had many people talking with allegations of age cheating after a number of pictures of seemingly looking old players of the winners, the DRC, went viral on social media.
Jordaan, who was addressing provincial educators who are currently undergoing the Safa/Caf D-License coaching course at the SAFA National Technical Centre (Fun Valley), says age cheating derails progress of African nations, no wonder the continent is struggling to win the senior Fifa World Cup, but Africa keeps on doing well in junior global tournaments.
“Africa has won almost all of Fifa’s junior tournaments from Under-17, Under-20 and the Olympics on numerous occasions but have never reached the final of the Senior Men’s Fifa World Cup. This is because in most cases African teams field over-aged players in these junior tournaments and when the same players finally graduate to the senior national team, they will already have passed their peak. This is a serious indictment on us as Africans,” Jordaan was quoted on the Safa website.
“In the developed world, especially in Europe, the coach/player ratio is 20 players per coach while on the continent (Africa) it is mostly 200 players or more to one coach. In order to churn out as many coaches as possible, we need to have such regular coaching courses.”
Age cheating continues to be one major problem that is not only affecting Africa, but the whole world of football, however, its rife in the continent. In 2016, Nigeria’s 2015 Fifa Under-17 World Cup winning squad was dealt a major blow when 26 of their players failed MRI screening ahead of the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against Niger.