Age group competitions are rampant with age cheating not just in India but across the world.
In recent years, Nigerian Under-17 team cannot defend their title in India as they couldn’t participate in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers as most of their players failed the medical test.
A couple of years back the All India Football Federation (AIFF) stripped Jharkhand of the Sub Junior title as five of their players turned out to be overage.
When former India Under-17 coach Nicolai Adam headed over to the north eastern region to scout, most of the players who attended the trials admitted that they didn’t fit in the age criterion.
Teams participating in the Under-17 World Cup can certainly protest against players from the opposition team if they feel or doubt of someone being overage.
FIFA, the world governing body for football, conduct Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests to check the age of the players. The MRI scans the left wrist of the said player and those between grade one and five are allowed to play a part in the competition while those whose bone structures are advanced are considered overage.
Last weekend saw India Under-17 squad undergo medicals in Goa in order to ensure that none of the players are deemed overage.
“All the players passed their medicals successfully,” informed a senior AIFF official.
An overage player would certainly be embarrassing for the hosts who are participating on such a grand stage for the very first time. For now, it's fair to state that India have done enough to ensure that they aren't fielding an overage player.