January, 13 2023.
Chad is the latest nation to fall foul of the age testing saga rocking African football after the country's cadet team, got disqualified from the Central African regional Under-17 Cup of Nations qualifiers, which got underway on Thursday, January 12th, in Cameroun.
The sad turn of events comes after one of their players failed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) age test.
Prior to that, the DR Congo pulled out its team from the tournament holding in Cameroun, just two days ago, meaning only three countries are now left in the five-team qualifying event.
The surviving sides are Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic, whose 25 out of 40 players were also found to be overage.
Cameroun the host country had 30 of its Potential U-17 Lion Curbs replaced at the very last minute, as Fecafoot President, Samuel Eto'o Fils fully backed the fight against age cheats in men's and women's football in Africa.
Football's world governing body, Fifa, introduced MRI scans at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, which took place in Nigeria.
The test works by scanning the wrist to study how advanced the bone structure is.
Organising committee, of the Central African Football Federations' Union (UNIFFAC), has confirmed that Chad's elimination was because their single failure was part of an in-tournament test, as opposed to pre-tournament testing by Cameroun.
Chad was due to play Congo-Brazzaville in the opening game of the UNIFFAC event which will decide regional qualification for April's 12-team Under-17 Cup of Nations in Algeria.
It is scheduled to run 12-24 January, and two teams are due to progress to the tournament proper.
Credit: Chinedum Ohanusi