Cameroon have been hit by a fresh age fraud scandal after 21 members of their Under-17 squad were disqualified over the issue.
Back in the summer, Cameroon’s football federation summoned 44 players from eight different clubs for a hearing into alleged age or identity cheating, with president Samuel Eto’o keen to eradicate the problem in the central African country.
However, Eto’o has been dealt another setback in his bid to thwart their age fraud crisis after the majority of players selected for this year’s UNIFACC tournament – contested by the Under-17 sides of Central African Football Federations’ Union countries – were disqualified after failing MRI tests.
They were immediately removed from the group. Steps were immediately taken for their replacement. ‘This action is the result of strict instructions given by the President of FECAFOOT acting under the mandate of the COMEX, in order to put an end to the tampering with civil status records which have, in the past, tarnished the image of the apex body of the Cameroon football. FECAFOOT urges all actors, in particular educators, to ensure that the ages by category are respected.
Cameroon have recently come under criticism for withholding the list of selected players for both their Under-20 and Under-17 teams. There are also said to be concerns regarding their squad for this year’s African Nations Championships, with an official list of players still not made public ahead of their opening game on January 16.
Age fraud continues to be a major source of concern for African football, with many of their international successes at junior level clouded by allegations of over-age players.But after becoming the Cameroon federation’s president in December 2021, Eto’o promised reform of the game in the country and stepping up his efforts for exactly that.