Zambia have been disqualified from the 2016 COSAFA Under-17 Championships being staged in Mauritius, having been found to have fielded two over-age players for the tournament.
Consequently Malawi finish top of Group B and East African guest nation Kenya claim the runners-up spot. Yesterday’s semi-final line-up therefore saw South Africa taking on Kenya, but the South Africans however easily overpowered Kenya by 4-0 to reach Sunday’s final. Malawi played Namibia in the other semifinal clash for a place in Sunday’s final.
Zambia’s disqualification follows fresh Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests carried out on forward Nicholas Mulilo and Benjamin Phiri in Mauritius, which found the players were over the age of 17 and therefore according to Clause 10.5 (I) of the tournament regulations are not eligible to compete in the competition.
Zambia had willingly submitted both players for re-testing in Mauritius after complaints from two countries. The pair had been tested, along with the rest of the squad, in Zambia prior to their arrival at the tournament, as is mandatory for all players competing at the CAF Under-17 qualifiers and U17 Youth Championships final tournament, but information sourced later from Confederation of African Football (CAF) indicated that these tests were incorrectly done.
The re-tests carried out in Mauritius revealed the players were not eligible to compete. MRI scans have become standard in assessing the age of players in this age group with a 99 percent accuracy.
Every bone in the arm and leg has an end plate from which bones grow. When the growth is completed (usually around the age of 17) this end plate disappears on the MRI scans. If it can be seen on the MRI scans, then it is proof that the player is 17 or younger.