Kenya hopeful age-detecting system will eliminate age-cheating in football

Kenya hopeful age-detecting system will eliminate age-cheating in football
Kenya National women football team players celebrate victory against Algeria during the final round of the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifier at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani in Nairobi, Kenya on April 11, 2016. [Photo/SPORTPICHA]

Kenya Under-17 Head Coach John Kamau is confident that the newly introduced age determining system that uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans is the beginning of a new era that will stump out age cheating in Kenyan Football.

This comes two months after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) disqualified the Kenya Under-20 team from the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for allegedly fielding five ineligible players during March’s Africa Under-20 qualifier.

The coach, renown for scouting talent at the Secondary School Games during his time at Thika United, believes the experience he got from the process will aid him when he reports for the U-17 camp in preparation for the 12th edition of the 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations qualifier against Cameroon.

Kenya was handed a ban to the second round when first round opponents Malawi pulled out citing financial constraints.

“At the moment, I’m not thinking keenly about the U-17 AFCON because first I have to report to the camp and determine whether the kids there have the potential to progress to the U20s when I’m done with them then we can take it from there,” he told Citizen Digital.

Kamau also applauded the move by FKF to appoint former Romania Youth Coach Andre Spires, to serve in the capacity of Technical Director of football citing his knowledge of various youth systems as an asset to the different age-groups.

“I’m happy with his appointment because he is the one who is going to guide us on what structures to put in place to aid in the development of these young players and it’s just a matter of time before I have a meeting with him,” he added.

The former Posta Rangers tactician was coy on whether his duties in the national team setup were proving to be too much as he doubled up as U20 and U17 coach and also acted as an assistant to Stanley Okumbi when the Harambee Stars were in camp.

Former Tusker FC and Sony Sugar tactician Leonard Odipo was appointed earlier last month to the post of U-17 assistant coach to deputize under Kamau.

FKF released a list of 32 players to report to the National Under-17 camp on Monday 4 July at MISC Kasarani which was arrived at following a national exercise that saw FKF scouts, assess and shortlist over 100 players who underwent a two day selection process in Nairobi. Out of the 100 players, 40 made it to the final shortlist; eight were however dropped after MRI scan results showed that they were above the age limit.

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Story By Eric Kagunda
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