DR Congo fans at Afcon 2019Backpagepix

DR Congo pull out of UNIFFAC tournament after 25 of 40 players fail age tests

  • Mass age cheating forced DR Congo out of the UNIFFAC qualifiers
  • The Congolese FA found 25 out of 40 players had lied about their age
  • DRC is the second country to be rocked by age fraud after Cameroon

WHAT HAPPENED? Age fraud in African football reared its ugly head yet again when 25 of 40 players from DR Congo failed age tests conducted by the Congolese Football Federation ahead of the U17 Central African Football Federations' Union (UNIFFAC) tournament qualifiers.

Further, only five of the 15 players who passed the tests managed to complete the necessary administrative formalities to allow them into host nation Cameroon, forcing organisers to reschedule fixtures.

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DR Congo is the second country in over a week to experience the shameful incident after Cameroon had 32 players failing age tests, when 21 were found to have falsified their age in the first round of testing, necessitating a second one after which 11 were found to have cheated.

WHAT DID THEY SAY? "It is an organisational nightmare because we have to quickly come up with a new format that will involve four nations instead of the original five," organisers told the BBC as quoted by The Sun. “We are happy that after the MRI scans, all four nations now have a team.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: African teams have previously been accused of age cheating, especially in junior tournaments, and the organisers of the UNIFFAC tournament insisted on MRI scans to ascertain the players’ ages.

With DR Congo out, hosts Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Chad and Central African Republic will now take part in the qualifying competition whose matches were take place between January 12 and 24.

Fifa introduced MRI scans, which works by scanning the wrist to study how advanced the bone structure is, during the 2009 U17 World Cup in Nigeria.

WHAT’S NEXT? The organisers are yet to confirm whether DR Congo will receive punishment for their late no-show.