#Article (Archive)

Over-Age Crisis

Aug 12, 2009, 6:54 AM

The forthcoming FIFA-17 World Cup dubbed Nigeria 2009 is getting off to a cynical start, with the ongoing age test using the MIR scanning machine. Nigeria, the host, is the first casualty, as it has lost about 16 members of the Golden Eaglets to the age testing device. The Nigerian coach is now saddled with an unforeseen task of getting replacements for his team.

FIFA has made it clear that it will test all the teams taking part in the competition before they are registered to play. This is a warning to all the participating teams to put their houses in order before jetting off to Nigeria for the event. For one thing, it will be embarrassing for a team to have some of its players sent back home when they are already in Nigeria for the big show. So teams that are doubtful of the ages of their players should conduct their own tests before being exposed to the entire world as age cheats. It will not come as a surprise to us if an entire team fails the age test. For another, if that happens, it will affect the performance of the makeshift team that will have to be assembled hastily in order to take part in the tournament. In the short run, it would affect the quality of the game.

This must be disconcerting news for most of the participating teams, as it likely that only few teams are innocent of this offence. It is a known fact that footballers have two different ages: one is biological age, while the other is football age. The football age is the falsified one invented for expediency. That is why footballers, who are erroneously signed on by European clubs under their football ages, are not able deliver as expected. Their speed, agility and reflexes are almost always less sharp and responsive for people of their assumed ages. This has led many European clubs to distrust the ages claimed by players from certain parts of the world.

The U-17 football category has been afflicted by complaints of age cheats right from its inception in 1985. It is said that some countries field over-aged players who easily trounce teams that present players who fall within the age group required for the tournament. This, it is argued, goes against the spirit of the competition which is meant to discover young talents who can be nurtured into superstars in the future. With the advent of the MIR scanning machine, this matter will be laid to rest. This age test will sanitize the game, as only teenagers will be allowed to take part in the tournament. In that case, barring any injury, some of these players will be able to spend a much longer time in their career. Unlike the present situation when a so-called U-17 player is burnt out barely five years into professional football.

"Truth exists; only lies are invented"

Georges Braque