Age fraud scandal: DR Congo withdraw from the U17 Africa Cup of Nations after 25 out of 40 players failed MRI tests

Due to 25 out of 40 players failing the required age testing, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has withdrew from a regional qualifying round for the 2023 Under-17 African Cup of Nations.

This comes after a similar incident that rocked Cameroon earlier this month, when a total of 32 players failed tests that Samuel Eto’o, the country’s football association’s president, had ordered.

According to a statement from the Congolese football organisation (FECOFA), just 15 of the 40 players that were submitted for MRI testing were eligible, and 25 of them failed.

However, the statement also stated that “just five managed to fulfil the necessary administrative formalities” that would have permitted them to travel, out of the 15 players who passed the age test.

BBC Sport Africa reported that Cameroon found 30 replacement players in a race against time to take part in the qualifiers for the U17 AFCON. 

Unlike those who failed, the 30 players have all passed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests in Douala.

The tests are used to determine a player’s age by scanning their wrists and measuring bone growth.

The Indomitable Lions will not be able to kick off the tournament on January 12 as scheduled due to DR Congo’s withdrawal. 

Four countries – Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Chad, and Central African Republic – will now take part in the qualifying competition, with the Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFFAC) rescheduling fixtures between January 12 and 24.

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