The Confederation of African Football has dispatched two medical officers to assess the ages of all the 180 footballers competing at the Cecafa-zone Africa Cup of Nations U17 Championship qualifiers in Tanzania.
The age-group competition kicks off in Tanzania on Saturday afternoon, but Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye confirmed to Nation Sport on Friday all teams will await results of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests and subsequent clearance from the continental body before competing.
“I know most of the sides here including Kenya conducted separate (MRI) tests on their players but we will be using the results that Caf forward to us,” said Musonye.
"Overage players will be expelled. If a team has more than six players who are over age, we will sanction them too. Age-cheating is rampant in Africa and unfortunately this vice is seriously undermining the growth of the game.” Kenya has been caught in this web before.
In 2016, the national U-20 football team was disqualified from competing in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for fielding ineligible players. The setback attracted a tongue lashing from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Nine countries, following the last-minute withdrawal of Somalia, will contest to represent the Cecafa zone in the Africa Cup of Nations U17 Championships that will also be hosted in Tanzania in April next year.
The qualification phase was modified early this year, which each of the six zones on the continent playing at their backyard to produce winners that will contest for the honours in the final round next year. Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan are in Group ‘A’ of the tournament will Kenya has been pooled in Group ‘B’ alongside Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and South Sudan.
The top two teams in the competition, which is sponsored by Caf and European body Uefa under the assist special program, will qualify for the main continental championship.
Rwanda will play Sudan in the opening match and Kenya, who are coached by Mike Amenga, will begin their campaign with a match against South Sudan on Tuesday.