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African players whose ages have become subjects of debate

By Mutala Yakubu
African players whose ages have become subjects of debate
African players whose ages have become subjects of debate
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In AfricaAfrica there is a saying that, your biological parents are the only ones who know your real age.

That is no different when it comes to African football. Footballers from this continent are usually associated with age cheating due to a number of reasons.

Some Footballers who get the opportunity of travelling outside the continent to pursue their careers normally give false ages in order to gain to entry into a particular team.

Another reason is that the players know that there is a lesser chance of being signed if they are, for example, 23 years old as opposed to 17 years old as there would be less time for the club to develop the player.

Therefore as the majority of football enthusiasts tend to criticize the age of some particular players, then there is a bit of truth in it.

As the saying goes '' With every rumour, there is a little bit of truth''.

Let's have a look at some players whose ages became a centre for debate.

1. Francis Odinaka Uzoho

Francis Odinaka Ozoho is a professional Nigeria footballer who for plays for Spanish club Deportivo de La Coruña as a goalkeeper and the Nigerian national team.

Francis is at the ongoing Fifa World Cup in Russia. He has become the recipe for jokes on social media for his ‘young’ age.

Football fans trolled Francis whose official age is 19 years, although, in the eyes of football enthusiasts, he is older than the age mentioned.

Francis was in goal for the Super Eagles in their opening World Cup fixture against Croatia on Saturday night, a match the Nigerians lost 2-0.


2. Joseph Minala

Joseph Minala who plays for Lazio Youth side was recently facing a tough time after the Italian FA launched an investigation after an African football website claimed that Cameroon-born Minala was pretending to be 17 and had altered his passport to take a full 25 years of his actual birth date.

The midfielder was cleared to play after the investigations proved that he was 17 years and not 42 as claimed.

Minala came in for abuse on social networking sites after releasing a picture showing him looking much older than his teenage years.


3. Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly is an Ivorian currently playing for Manchester United in the English Premier League.

He is 24-years old and on his 24 birthday, a chef of Manchester United presented a birthday cake which has an inscription '' Happy Birthday Eric 30'' suggesting Eric is 30-years old.

This brought a lot of controversies until Bailly tweeted '' thanks to our great chef for this wonderful gift! A-notch cake! Even though i'm 24 not 30. Football enthusiasts believe Eric has surpassed 24years as a result of his physique and matured looking face.

4. Victor Emenayo

Victor Emenayo is a professional Nigerian footballer who played for Shahdagh Qusar FK in Azerbaijan two years ago, 2016.

Emenayo endured a lot of ridicule by social media users in Azerbaijan and other parts of the world following his age.

Read also:Ghanaian defender John Boye leaves Sivasspor

Some stating that he indeed looks well above 40 years old. However, he released a statement saying  “How can anybody claim or ascertain that I am not 23-years-old merely by my looks? My passport says I was born in 1993 and no one can dispute that.


5. Yusupha Yaffa

Yusupha Yaffa is a Gambian international whose current club is unknown.

Yaffa is on paper born on December 31, 1996, however, he has generated a lot of criticism regarding his age especially being exposed by is friends on facebook.  Yaffa was on the books at the San Siro after he was signed by the Rossoneri in 2013.

The African forward was drafted into Milan’s youth setup, while he went on to become a regular for the Milan U19 side. Police investigated and got to know that Yaffa, while claiming to be 19, was actually 28!.

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