23rd June, 2012
The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) on Saturday said it was ready to tackle the problem of age cheats in cadet competitions to further enhance the growth of the sport.
NFA Secretary-General Musa Amadu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the use of over-age players in such competitions was a big setback to football development.“This has been a problem for a very long time and we are making sure that players that are within the age bracket of U-17, that are playing in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), are not eligible.“If a player is playing in the NPL and wants play in the U-17 team, it is not allowed for the fear of deceit; that has been a trend in the system.
“We have won the U-17 World Cup thrice; at the moment, it should not be about wining; it should be geared toward development that will improve the country’s football.“We should look at the competition as a developmental tournament so that any player that has distinguished himself will be sure of playing in the senior team,” Amadu said.
He also said the NFA would continue to fund age grade competitions to discover talents to enhance the growth of football.The NFA scribe said all players would be subjected to the Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) scan to scientifically determine the real age of a player.“We also have the MRI scan which is the scientific way of finding out the actual age of players.“And we are working hard to ensure that anybody who fails will be disqualified from representing the country,” he said.
According to the NFA official, stamping out age cheats will quicken the rebuilding process of the country’s football and the restoration of its lost glory in the sport. “Football is on the rise again, and we are trying to put Nigerian football where it was and even surpass it; we know it will take some time, but we are on the right track.“I know by 2013 to 2015, we would have got there; we just want to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the NFA.“Slow but surely, we would get there”.