Home Football AFCON 2023: 17 years old, 61 others suspended for age fraud in Cameroon

AFCON 2023: 17 years old, 61 others suspended for age fraud in Cameroon

The Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) has been plunged into turmoil after suspending 62 players for age fraud, with evidence emerging that they had been lying about their ages, some by over a decade.

Among those caught up in the scandal is Wilfried Nathan Douala, a 17-year-old star who featured prominently for the Indomitable Lions at the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.

Douala, who played as a midfielder for Victoria United, gained widespread attention during AFCON 2023, where he was notably hailed as a rising talent at just 17 years old.

However, FECAFOOT’s investigation has revealed discrepancies in Douala’s age, along with 61 other players, leading to their suspension for “double identities” and suspected age concealment.

The revelation has thrown Douala’s promising career into uncertainty, raising significant integrity concerns for FECAFOOT and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Douala is expected to face severe consequences for participating in international competitions under false pretenses, likely resulting in a lengthy ban.

The age fraud scandal has prompted broader concerns about the prevalence of age manipulation within African football youth setups. FECAFOOT’s decisive action suggests that such practices may be more widespread than initially thought.

For Douala, the scandal has shattered the perception of him as a teenage prodigy, casting doubts on his achievements and performances at AFCON 2023. Despite his initial acclaim, his appearance in the tournament had raised suspicions among football enthusiasts on social media.

The revelations underscore the need for greater scrutiny and vigilance in verifying players’ ages, highlighting the importance of maintaining integrity and fair play in football competitions.

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