When the ball begins to spin at the Bicentenario stadium, players from Nigeria, Javier Mascherano’s Argentina rival next Wednesday, will once again take center stage for physical strength and expert looks. Yes, once again it will be debated whether African footballers are older than they claim to be.
In the history of the Youth World Cup, the ghost of the age of African players has flown. The issue has worsened over the years and for this reason FIFA has had to hold on with the controls. However, the problem may fail.
Nigeria, along with the rest of the African countries, lives in poverty and deprivation. In many of the continent’s cities, civil registration systems are archaic or non-existent at all. Thus, children are born and develop their first years without having an identity document. Also, since there are very few clubs that have Inferiors, players are not given the option to sign up. They learn to play on the street, in some schools or minor clubs, in regional championships.
If any of them stand out, a talent hunter can include them in a first- or second-rate club. There children or adolescents are sometimes forced to change their names and age. That’s why they reach out to older teams than the document warrants. Beware of this problem that dates back years, FIFA has found a solution principle: Perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of young players’ wrists. LRadiography of the epiphyseal cartilage of the left wrist has been used for decades in court and pediatrics to clarify age. This cartilage remains open during growth and closes at different times as age and maturity increase.
FIFA still encourages federations to use the method and uses it in Under-17 competitions. Earlier this year, for example, Cameroon sent off 21 of their 30-man squad to play the African Nations Championship for failing the IRM test..
In this World Cup, the one targeted by everyone is Daniel Bameyi, the Eagles captain for alleged 17 years. The story of this defender has come to light because little is known about his past and he had an outstanding performance in the 2-0 win against Italy. Many wondered where Bameyi played, and a ghost club appeared – Yum Yum FC. There is no mention of the team in question in the Nigerian Football Association, although it is possible that they are an amateur team playing in regional leagues.
Something very particular happens with Bameyi: nobody really knows where he plays, but he has already represented (he has been called up) the Senior Team in a friendly match against Costa Rica. There he shared training with the Napoli striker, Victor James Osimhen, among others.
A good duel is looming in the round of 16 between the candidate Argentina and the enigmatic and powerful Nigeria, that team that is usually in the eye of the storm due to the ghost of players from the past.
Saint John. Special delivery.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.