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Deal with age-cheating

By The Standard | April 22nd 2016

The expulsion of the national Under-20 football team from the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations over age-cheating is a big shame.

According to CAF’s Organising Committee for the youth tournament, Kenya fielded five ineligible players during a match against Sudan.

The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has argued that technically, players born in 1996 are 20 years old yet the rules clearly state that the tournament was only open to players born on or after January 1, 1997.

One of the promises of Nick Mwendwa’s team at the FKF was to streamline football activities in the country. We still look up to them to clean the mess long associated with local football.

A good starting point would be the ongoing Kenyan Premier League Under-20 Championship.

The tournament is a good idea to help promote local football development among the youth. But what is worrying is the accusations that some teams are fielding overage players.

Granted, the players and club officials may present documents proving their ages. However, FKF needs to embark on a rigorous, carefully-planned process of verifying ages.

For if it is true that clubs are fielding overage players in a local tournament, then it should not surprise us that we would do the same at the international level.

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