In several other regions of Asia and many African nations, age fraud in football is fairly widespread. For numerous years, it has afflicted FIFA’s youth competitions.
African countries are known for fielding players that are beyond the age limit. Nigeria is the only country to have won the U17 World Cup five times. However, it has never advanced past the FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals.
Many people in India were horrified by the case of Gourav Mukhi, who appeared to be 16 but was considerably older. However, age fraud has been a persistent issue in Indian youth football for generations. This is a problem that continues to plague national teams of all ages. For being overage a few years ago, 70% of participants at the National U14 camp (84 out of 120) were sent back. At the lesser levels – state teams and academies – this is a much greater problem.
This is a technique that is not limited to tiny clubs or training institutions. In recent years, well-known clubs in India’s premier leagues, such as the ISL and I-League, have been barred from competing due to the use of underage players.
Why Does It Happen?
It occurs because it is quite simple to alter birth certificates in some areas.
In addition, rewards outnumber punishments. Overage players have a greater chance of being picked and having a brighter future. There is no medical test that can be relied on to accurately establish one’s age. And, other than a brief ban, there are no substantial consequences for being discovered overage, though several countries have lately imposed harsher penalties.
The repercussions are still not serious in India. When Gourav Mukhi was discovered to be overage at the U15 National Team Trials in 2015, the AIFF banned him for a year. In 2018, he professed to be 16 and played in the ISL for Jamshedpur FC. If he hadn’t scored a goal, no one would have realized.
Impact On Honest Players?
Honest players face severe repercussions.
When young athletes are frequently refused for teams, they lose confidence and feel demotivated. Especially because they are unaware of the flaws in the selection process. Coaches who are selfish may dismiss them to field the best squad and win. Anger may settle in rapidly, and even skilled players with promising futures may abandon the game.
Worse is to come:
The difficulty of changing one’s playing style is considerably more serious. To match with technically and physically better overage players, young guys must change their technique. With time, the body adjusts to these erroneous tactics, and they become permanent.
Smart Soccer Parenting Tactics For Your Child
Don’t be fooled by age fraud. Your child’s growth will be limited if they play with overage competitors.
Football academies that recruit underage players should be avoided. It is difficult to obtain verification of other individuals’ birth certificates, but you may visually inspect them. If your child’s present academy fields athletes with significant physical and technical dominance with him, consider transferring him to a better academy.
Trainers and football academies who do not use age cheating will benefit your youngster the most. Even if it means losing tournaments. Find institutes and coaches who assess their success in terms of the number of pro athletes they’ve produced rather than the number of matches they’ve won.