Dar to host FIFA`s age detection trials

Tanzania has been selected alongside Brazil, Germany and Malaysia to conduct research on a special machine for detecting the exact age of soccer players.

Tanzania Football Federation’s (TFF) medical committee chairman Sylvester Faya said yesterday that the machine dubbed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will be capable to detect players’ age with a view to curb age cheating.

“The research is expected to take place in mid next month. An official with the world soccer governing body (FIFA) will arrive in the country on April 12, as part of preparations for the task”, said Faya, who is an orthopedic surgeon by profession.

He said the research, which is supervised by FIFA, will be conducted in Dar es Salaam and TFF will use local women soccer players for testing.

“The machine resembles an x-ray but it does not emit electromagnetic rays when applied on a human body. We have been advised to use the electromagnetic waves-free machine to avoid negative effects that the waves could have posed on the players”, said Faya.

Faya’s committee will select players of different age categories to undergo the test for detection of their exact ages. He said it has been a great honour for Tanzania to be selected to conduct the research.

Age cheating has for years been the biggest problem facing soccer in Africa and the rest of the world particularly in youth tournaments.

Tanzania too was implicated in age cheating back in 2005, when the national U-17 soccer team, Serengeti Boys, was disqualified from the finals of the African Nations Cup tournament held in Gambia.

Nurdin Bakari, now featuring for Yanga by then was at the centre of the controversy that led to disqualification of Tanzania despite successful qualifier results.

Serengeti defeated, among others, Rwanda and Zimbabwe in the qualifiers to book a place in the finals, but was eventually kicked out after Confederation of African Football (CAF) was alerted on the scandal.

Bakari was by then playing for Simba and the records of his exact age, which were filed by Simba, conflicted with the ones filed by Serengeti Boys.


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