The tar of age cheating has fallen on former Super Eagles defender, Taribo West, who has been accused of reducing his age by as much as 12 years when he joined Partizan Belgrade in 2002.
The defender, renowned as much for his no-nonsense defending as much as his colourful hairstyle is said to have been 40 years old when he joined the Serbian team in 2002 though he claimed he was 28 years old.
Zarko Zecevic, former Partizan president made this claim in a report published by the Daily Mail.
“He joined us saying he was 28. We only later found out he was 40, but he was still playing well so I don’t regret having him on the team,” Zecevic told Daily Mail.
According to the Croatian media, the former defender known for his colourful hairstyles also lied when trying to join Croatia’s Rijeka club.
It was also reported that at the age of 44, West told Croatia’s Rijeka club doctors he was only 32 and it was only after an examination that the doctors raised suspicions with the club because West’s knees suggested he was older.
However, the former player has responded to the allegations claiming that the club should have raised it when he was part of their squad.
“I don’t really know what they are talking about and that’s why I don’t really have anything much to say. But it is curious that they are raising such matter about 10 years after I left the place. Why was the matter not raised while I was there? Why talk about it long after I retired from the game,” Taribo told The Punch.Nigerian players especially those that came through the youth ranks have variously been accused of age cheating. The country was banned in the wake of Samson Siasia’s age falsification ordeal in the U17s of 1991. Obafemi Martins and lately Emmanuel Emenike have also had to defend themselves against claims of age falsification.